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Trumpetflower Tecoma stans

Previously known as:

  • Bignonia stans
  • Stenolobium stans
  • Tecoma stans var. angustatum
Phonetic Spelling
tek-OH-muh stanz
Description

The Yellow Trumpetbush is a broadleaf evergreen shrub or small tree that has clusters of bright yellow trumpet-shaped flowers. The showy flowers bloom from spring until frost. In warmer climates, they may bloom all year long. In the United States, the shrub is typically 3-6 feet tall but can grow up to 10-25 feet tall and 10-20 feet wide. The plant is a member of the Bigoniaceae or Trumpet Creeper Family which are mostly tropical trees or shrubs. Other common names include Esperanza (Spanish for hope), Trumpet Flower, Yellow Bells, Yellow Elder, Yellow Trumpet Flower, and Yellow Bignonia. 

The plant is native to south-central Texas, Arizona, Mexico, Central America, and South America as far as northern Argentina. It is also native to southern Florida and the Caribbean. In Florida, the shrub is listed as invasive and is only recommended in specified and limited use. It is winter hardy in USDA zones 10b-11. The shrub's native habitats include roadsides, hillsides, high elevations, slopes, and canyons. Reportedly, the wood from the shrub was used by the Native Americans for bowmaking. 

The origin of the genus name, Tecoma, is an abbreviation for its Mexican name "tecomaxochitl." The species name means "erect" or "upright." 

The Yellow Trumpetbush blooms best in full sun. It will perform well in organic-rich and moist, well-drained soils. The shrub benefits from being allowed to dry out between waterings. The blooms may be prolonged by deadheading the spent flowers. Pruning is necessary after flowering to control the size and shape of the shrub. The plant may be propagated by seeds or soft cuttings. It is best to collect the seeds in late summer or fall when the fruit pods are no longer green. Seedlings may be easily transplanted, and they will typically bloom within 2 years. The Yellow Trumpetbush is heat and drought tolerant and is moderately resistant to deer. During harsh winters in their native range, the shrub may die back. When this occurs, the shrub should be cut back to the ground.

The leaves are odd pinnately compound with 5-13 leaflets. The leaflets are medium to olive green, 1.5 to 5 inches long, and elliptic to lanceolate with serrated margins. The flowers are bright yellow trumpet-shaped and emerge in clusters or racemes. They are very showy and mildly fragrant. The fruits are long thin green to grayish-brown capsules which are very conspicuous in the fall as they dangle from the shrub. The shrub is multi-trunked with dangling branches. The bark is light gray to brown

The nectar of the flowers attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Small mammals feed on the seeds, and other mammals browse on the leaves.

The Yellow Trumpetbush is frequently planted as a specimen or accent plant due to its prolonged blooming and brilliant floral display. It is also used in the landscape mixed in with other border shrubs, patios, or containers. 

The cultivar, 'Gold Star,' has golden yellow trumpet flowers and dark green glossy leaves. It is heat tolerant and pest resistant.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Odd pinnately compound leaves with 5-13 leaflets
  • Leaflets are medium to olive green, elliptic to lanceolate with serrated margins
  • Showy bright yellow trumpet-shaped flowers with pale red veins inside the tube
  • Green to grayish-brown elongated fruit capsules

Insects, Diseases, and Other Problems:

The Yellow Trumpetbush has no serious disease or insect problems. Scale and chewing insects may be spotted. Spider mites and whiteflies may occur in plants that are maintained indoors.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Gold Star'
    Golden yellow trumpet-shaped flowers, dark green glossy leaves
'Gold Star'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#showy flowers#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#specimen#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#accent plant#small mammals#food source wildlife#long bloom time#border planting#flowers late spring#flowers mid-summer#larval host plant#nectar plant fall#nectar plant summer#nectar plant spring#flowers early summer#flowers late summer#patio planting#bird friendly#flowers early fall#bee friendly#flowers mid-fall#container plant#flowers mid-spring
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Gold Star'
    Golden yellow trumpet-shaped flowers, dark green glossy leaves
'Gold Star'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#showy flowers#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#specimen#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#accent plant#small mammals#food source wildlife#long bloom time#border planting#flowers late spring#flowers mid-summer#larval host plant#nectar plant fall#nectar plant summer#nectar plant spring#flowers early summer#flowers late summer#patio planting#bird friendly#flowers early fall#bee friendly#flowers mid-fall#container plant#flowers mid-spring
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Tecoma
    Species:
    stans
    Family:
    Bignoniaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native Americans in the southwest U.S. and Mexico used the shrub for bowmaking, bee fodder, and medicines. The roots were brewed to make a native beer.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Tropical and Subtropical Americas, and West Indies
    Distribution:
    Native: Central America, South America as far as northern Argentina, United States--AZ, FL, NM, and TX, and the West Indies
    Wildlife Value:
    Bees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators nectar at the flowers. It is the larval host for the Dogface butterfly and adult food for the Plebeian sphinx (Paratrea plebeja). Small mammals eat the seeds and leaves.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Colorful
    Easy to Grow
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    After flowering, a long thin capsule forms that measure 4 to 10 inches long. Initially, they are green and then become grayish-brown as they mature. The capsule contains multiple small papery seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are bright yellow, showy, and trumpet-shaped. They are about 2 inches long and have a few pale red veins inside the tube. The flowers are arranged in clusters or racemes and are mildly fragrant. They bloom from spring to frost. In some tropical areas, they may bloom all year long.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are odd-pinnately compound with 5 to 13 leaflets. The leaflet is lanceolate to elliptic, 1.5 to 5 inches long, 1-2 inches wide, and medium to olive green. The leaf arrangement is opposite, and the margins are serrated.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    Lenticels
    Bark Description:
    The bark is light gray to brown. The bark has white lenticels when the shrub is young. As the shrub ages, the bark becomes fissured.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The twigs are thin and green. They turn reddish-brown as the shrub ages. The branches tend to droop and have no thorns. The shrub is multi-trunked.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Heat