Tipuana tipu (Pride of Bolivia) is a large, spreading evergreen tree native to Brazil and the mountain forests of Bolivia. It is now widely planted in the Mediterranean region and the tropics. The tree reaches heights of 50-60 feet and has red-brown bark with a fissured and flaky trunk. Its branches have gray, cracked bark and the sap from its cut branches is red and sticky. The tree blooms in the summer months of June to August, producing golden yellow, orange or orange-red flowers in 7-12 inch clusters. These flowers stand out against the tree's dense foliage and create an impressive display when they cover the surface of the tree.
Tipuana tipu is drought resistant and prefers sunny locations. It can tolerate a wide range of soils, but it is shallow rooted. Therefore, it is recommended to stake and water young plants until the roots are established. Once established, occasional pruning and deep watering will help maintain the tree's health. Despite being considered a subtropical plant, Tipuana tipu is surprisingly hardy and can withstand light frosts.
In cold areas, Tipuana tipu can be overwintered in a pot and kept in a sheltered place. However, it should not be exposed to temperatures below 30 degrees F as this can damage the flowers. Pruning is also necessary to keep the plant at its desired size, as unfettered growth can result in a tree taller than 20 feet. This tree is a beautiful choice for landscaping and is most attractive when its flowers are in bloom.