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"Trumpet tree" redirects here. This term is occasionally used for the Shield-leaved Pumpwood (Cecropia peltata).

Tabebuia is a neotropical genus of about 100 speciesSteyermark et al. (1997) in the tribe Tecomeae of the family Bignoniaceae. The species range from northern Mexico and the Antilles south to northern Argentina and central Venezuela, including the Caribbean islands of Hispaniola and Cuba. It is also very common in Brazil, where it's called "Ipe" and it is considered as a Brazilian symbol.

Well-known common names include Ipe, Poui, trumpet trees and '''''pau d'arco'''.


They are large shrubs and trees growing to 5 to 50 m (16 to 160 ft.) tall depending on the species; many species are dry-season deciduous but some are evergreen. The leaves are opposite pairs, complex or palmately compound with 37 leaflets.

Tabebuiais a notable flowering tree. The flowers are 3 to 11 cm (1 to 4 in.) wide and are produced in dense clusters. They present a cupular calyx campanulate to tubular, truncate, bilabiate or 5-lobed. Corolla colors vary between species ranging from white, light pink, yellow, lavender, magenta, or red. The outside texture of the flower tube is either glabrous or pubescent.

The fruit is a dehiscent pod, 10 to 50 cm (4 to 20 in.) long, containing numerousin some species wingedseeds. These pods often remain on the tree through dry season until the beginning of the rainy season.

Uses and ecology

Species in this genus are important as timber trees. The wood is used for furniture, decking, and other outdoor uses. It is increasingly popular as a decking material due to its insect resistance and durability. By 2007, FSC-certified ipe wood had become readily available on the market, although certificates are occasionally forged.

Tabebuiais widely used as ornamental tree in the tropics in landscaping gardens, public squares, and boulevards due to its impressive and colorful flowering. Many flowers appear on still leafless stems at the end of the dry season, making the floral display more conspicuous. They are useful as honey plants for bees, and are popular with certain hummingbirds. Naturalist Madhaviah Krishnan on the other hand once famously took offense at ipe grown in India, where it is not native.

The bark of several species has medical properties. The bark is dried, shredded, and then boiled making a bitter or sour-tasting brownish-colored tea. Tea from the inner bark of Pink Ipe (T. impetiginosa'') is known as Lapacho or Taheebo. Its main active principles are lapachol, quercetin, and other flavonoids. It is also available in pill form. The herbal remedy is typically used during flu and cold season and for easing smoker's cough. It apparently works as expectorant, by promoting the lungs to cough up and free deeply embedded mucus and contaminants. However, lapachol is rather toxic and therefore a more topical use e.g. as antibiotic or pesticide may be advisable. Other species with significant folk medical use are T. alba and Yellow Lapacho (T. serratifolia).

Tabebuia heteropoda, T. incana, and other species are occasionally used as an additive to the entheogenic drink Ayahuasca.

Mycosphaerella tabebuiae, a plant pathogenic sac fungus, was first discovered on an ipe tree.

Conservation concerns

The demand for ipe wood has risen dramatically in recent years, especially in the United States. By the 1990s, numerous environmental organizations working on preservation of the Amazon Rainforest reported that about 80% of logging in the Brazilian Amazon was illegal. The Brazilian government has confirmed this figure, most notably in a leaked report from the Brazilian Intelligence Agency, in which it was confirmed that five times the amount of wood sanctioned to be cut from legal Amazon concessions was being exported and that numerous staff of the environment agency IBAMA were taking bribes.

In an October 2001 study for Greenpeace, five companies were reported to be logging illegally for ipe and other hardwoods in the region around Santarem, Para: Cemex Commercial Madeiras Exportacao, Madeireira Santarem (Madesa), Industrial Madeireira Curuatinga, Maderieira Rancho da Cabocla, and Estancia Alecrim/Milton Jose Schnorr. The bulk of their illegal timber exports from that region went to the Netherlands and France.

Much of the ipe imported into the United States is used for decking. Starting in the late 1960s, importing companies targeted large boardwalk projects to sell ipe, beginning with New York City Department of Parks and Recreation ("Parks") which maintains the city's boardwalks, including along the beach of Coney Island. The city began using ipe around that time and has since converted the entire boardwalkover 10 miles (16 km) longto ipe. The ipe lasted about 25 years, at which time (1994) Parks has been replacing it with new ipe. Given that ipe trees typically grow in densities of only one or two trees per acre, large areas of forest must be searched to fill orders for boardwalks and, to a lesser extent, homeowner decks.

In 2008-2009 Wildwood, New Jersey rebuilt a section of their boardwalk using ipe, the town had pledged to use domestic black locust, but it was not available in time.

Nowadays, ipe wood from cultivated trees supersedes timber extracted from the wild. As noted above, customers should check for legitimacy of certificates.

Notable species

Tabebuia alba

Tabebuia anafensis

Tabebuia arimaoensis

Tabebuia aurea – Caribbean Trumpet Tree

Tabebuia bilbergii

Tabebuia bibracteolata

Tabebuia cassinoides

Tabebuia chrysantha – Araguaney, Yellow Ipe, tajibo (Bolivia), ipe-amarelo (Brazil), canaguate (N Colombia)

Tabebuia chrysotricha – Golden Trumpet Tree

Tabebuia donnell-smithii Rose – Gold Tree, "Prima Vera", Cortez blanco (El Salvador), San Juan (Honduras), palo blanco (Guatemala),duranga (Mexico)

A native of Mexico and Central Americas, considered one of the most colorful of all Central American trees. The leaves are deciduous. Masses of golden-yellow flowers cover the crown after the leaves are shed.

Tabebuia dubia

Tabebuia ecuadorensis

Tabebuia elongata

Tabebuia furfuracea

Tabebuia geminiflora Rizz. & Mattos

Tabebuia guayacan (Seem.) Hemsl.

Tabebuia haemantha

Tabebuia heptaphylla (Vell.) Toledotajy

Tabebuia heterophyllaroble prieto

Tabebuia heteropoda

Tabebuia hypoleuca

Tabebuia impetiginosa – Pink Ipe, Pink Lapacho, ''ipe-cavata, ipe-comum, ipe-reto, ipe-rosa, ipe-roxo-damata, pau d'arco-roxo, peuva, piuva(Brazil), lapacho negro(Spanish); not"brazilwood"

Tabebuia incana

Tabebuia jackiana

Tabebuia lapacho lapacho amarillo

Tabebuia orinocensisA.H. Gentry

Tabebuia ochracea

Tabebuia oligolepis

Tabebuia pallida– Cuban Pink Trumpet Tree

Tabebuia platyantha

Tabebuia polymorpha

Tabebuia rosea(Bertol.) DC. (= T. pentaphylla(L.) Hemsley) – Pink Poui, Pink Tecoma, apama, apamate, matilisguate

A popular street tree in tropical cities because of its multi-annular masses of light pink to purple flowers and modest size. The roots are not especially destructive for roads and sidewalks. It is the national tree of El Salvador and the state tree of Cojedes, Venezuela

Tabebuia roseo-alba– White Ipe, ipe-branco(Brazil), lapacho blanco

Tabebuia serratifolia– Yellow Lapacho, Yellow Poui, ipe-roxo(Brazil)

Tabebuia shaferi

Tabebuia striata

Tabebuia subtilisSprague & Sandwith

Tabebuia umbellata

Tabebuia vellosoiToledo

Gallery of Tabebuiaflowers


(2005): Beija-flores e seus recursos florais em uma area urbana do Sul do Brasil [Hummingbirds and their flowers in an urban area of southern Brazil]. [Portuguese with English abstract] Revista Brasileira de Zoologia22(1): 5159. PDF fulltext

(1992): New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan.

(1998): Deep Impact: An Estimate of Tropical Rainforest Acres Impacted for a Board Foot of Imported Ipe. Rainforest Relief Reports6: 1-4. PDF fulltext

(1992): Arvores brasileiras: manual de identificacao e cultivo de plantas arboreas nativas do Brasil.

(2001): The Santarem Five and Illegal Logging A Case Study. PDF fulltext

(1995): Ayahuasca Additive Plants. In: Ayahuasca Analogues: Pangaean Entheogens.

(1997): Politica Florestal: Exploracao Madeireira na Amazonica. Confidential report.

(1997): 35. Tababuia. In: Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana(Vol. 3 Araliaceae-Cactaceae). ISBN 0-915279-46-0 HTML fulltext

(2007a): Germplasm Resources Information Network - Tabebuia''. Retrieved 2007-NOV-14.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Tabebuia

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