Tabebuia Impetiginosa: A Pink Postcard From the Caribbean

Aside from our lapis beaches nearby, there aren’t many ways for C to commune with her Trini heritage here in San Diego. So we were thrilled to discover a pink lapacho tree growing at the end of our street.

You can almost hear the music of the cuatro between the fluffy, emphatic blooms of this Tabebuia Impetiginosa, which is native to, and widely celebrated in, Trinidad and Tobago. (The plant also goes by the names pink trumpet tree, pink ipe and pink poui — and by the species Handroanthus impetiginosus, thanks to some taxonomical shuffling that happened a few years ago.) Actually, there are a few of these trees within a walkable radius of our house; we discovered them this spring during our bout of cherry blossom fever, which got us to gawking at every pink-flowering canopy that brightened our walks.

Pink lapacho’s blooms are yellow-throated, trumpet shaped and grow in mega clusters. They also drop their leaves before coming into bloom, making its flamingo-pink exuberance all the more seductive against our (prematurely installed) May Gray skies.

Poui tree aka pink lapacho.

Our neighbor’s pink lapacho is framed by palms, power lines and bougainvillea.

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Distributed throughout Latin America, the pink lapacho is used medicinally by indigenous populations to treat digestive problems, colds and infections.

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In California, pink lapacho flowers in the late winter/spring, and sometimes enjoys a second bloom in summer. It’s also a hummingbird magnet!

 

See Instagram activity on tabebuia impetiginosa (poui tree) in the Community Garden