Tecoma stans

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Related Links
Flowers at Deering Park Florida
© Forest and Kim Starr
Flowers at Deering Park Florida
© Forest and Kim Starr
Tecoma stans tree at the Nairobi Arboretum
© AFT team

Local names:
Arabic (tacoma), Creole (chevalye,flé senpié,zeb sennikola), English (ginger thomas,tecoma,trumpetflower,yellow bells,yellow bignonia,yellow cedar,yellow elder,yellow trumpet tree), French (Tecoma jaune,herbe de St. Nicholas,fleur de St. Pierre,chevalier

Tecoma stans is a shrub or small tree, 5-7.6 m in height. Bark is pale brown to grey and roughens with age.

Leaves are compound and imparipinnate with 2 to 5 pairs of leaflets and a larger single terminal leaflet. Leaflets are lanceolate, up to 10 cm long, with serrated margins, mid-green above and soft to the touch.

Flowers occur in clusters at the ends of the branches and are trumpet shaped with 5 rounded lobes, 6 cm long, pale to bright yellow, with faint orange stripes at the throat.

Fruits are narrow, slightly flattened to pointed capsules, up to 20 cm long, containing many winged seeds; green when young, pale brown on ripening and remain on the tree in untidy clusters for many months.

The generic name is derived from the Mexican word for the plant, tecomnaxochitl, which means ‘vessel-flower’ and refers to the large, cup-shaped or trumpet-shaped blooms. The specific name means ‘erect’ in Latin.


The drought-resistant trees are intolerant to frost and are light demanders.

Native range
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Surinam, Uruguay, Venezuela

Tree management

T. stans is a fast-growing tree that is easily raised and fairly drought resistant. Trees can perform well in areas of less than the recommended rainfall but need to be irrigated; they can also grow at higher altitudes than recommended, but is then said to be slow in flowering. Young plants need irrigation and protection from livestock, but once established, they can survive well on irregular watering and care. In frost-prone areas, trees are spaced 1.2 m apart and in warm climates, 2.4 m apart.

Seed storage behaviour is orthodox, and seeds can be stored for long periods under ideal conditions.

The drought-resistant trees are intolerant to frost and are light demanders.

Trees are easily propagated from seeds that can be planted directly into pots, and they require no pretreatment. Seedlings require 3 to 4 months in the nursery, after which they can be directly planted out. Regeneration by cuttings is also possible.

Trees provide firewood and charcoal.

Timber:  Wood is used in the construction of buildings.

Shade or shelter:  T. stans provides useful shade, especially in gardens.

Medicine:  Leaf infusion can be taken orally for diabetes and stomach pains; a strong leaf and root decoction is taken orally as a diuretic, to treat syphilis or for intestinal worms.

Ornamental:  The species is valued as an amenity tree by virtue of its many yellow trumpet-shaped flowers.

Trees can be planted as a live hedge.