Scientific: Tipuana tipu
Common: tipu tree, pride of Bolivia
Family: Fabaceae
Origin: Bolivia

Pronounciation: Ti-pooh-A-na TEE-pooh

Hardiness zones
13-16, 18-24
USDA 9 (may freeze in coldest winters), 10-11

Landscape Use: Flowering accent, mesic shade tree, pan-tropic as a landscape tree. Tipu tree is classified as an invasive species in south Africa and is a widely planted street tree in tropical cities.

Form & Character: Evergreen to partially deciduous, upright and broadly spreading with age, open umbrella-like canopy.

Growth Habit: In Phoenix this is a generally flat topped tree to 35 feet, but can eventually reach 50 feet with lesser or equal spread. Trunk and branches have a roughened bark. This tree is much larger when grown in coastal Southern California than in Arizona deserts.

Foliage/Texture: Pinnately compound leaves, 11 to 21 oblong leaflets, light green in color; medium texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Yellow to apricot pea shaped flowers, fruit is a samara-like 1 to 3 seeded winged pod.

Seasonal Color: Flowers in the early summer

Temperature: Hardy to 25oF and shows summer heat stress when grown around built surfaces of concrete and asphalt. Young trees are damaged by freezing temperatures during Phoenix winters, especially in southeast and western reaches of the Phoenix metro area.

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Some intervenal chlorosis might occur in alkaline central Arizona soils.

Watering: Tipu tree needs ample regular water in Phoenix. In more moderate locations such as southern California coastal regions, tipu tree is considered to be drought tolerant.

Pruning: Elevate canopy base high into inverted vase canopy. Tipu tree tends to form low co-dominant stems that if unpruned might form bark inclusions resulting in catastrophic limb failure. As a result, significant training for strong branch attachments should be considered a normal part of this tree's maintenance after transplanting young specimens into the landscape.

Propagation: Seed

Disease and pests: None

Additional comments: In Phoenix, tipu tree is a beautifully ornamental mesic shade tree of comparatively reduced vigor compared to it's habit in coastal southern California where it can become massive in size. Oddly, this tree appears on the Arizona Department of Water Resources low water use plant list (page 25), though in reality it is a mesic tropical tree with a locally high water requirement. Note this tree can seasonally produce copious foliage, flower and fruit litter.