African Tulip

The African Tulip tree, also known as Fountain Tree or Flame of the Forest, is native to tropical Africa but can be found in many parts of the world due to its ornamental beauty. This deciduous tree is known for its striking, large, bell-shaped flowers that bloom in clusters at the end of branches.

Tree CharacteristicsDescription
Common NameAfrican Tulip
Scientific nameSpathodea companulata
Native placeAfrica, particularly West Africa
Maximum heightUp to 25 meters
Diameter of crown when mature10-15 meters
Diameter of the tree trunk when matureUp to 2 meters
Years it takes to growFast-growing tree

Physical characteristics

The African Tulip tree can grow up to 25 meters in height with a dense, spreading crown that can reach up to 15 meters in diameter. The trunk of the tree can reach a diameter of 1 meter or more. The leaves are large, glossy, and pinnate, with 5 to 7 leaflets. The tree has a relatively fast growth rate and can reach maturity in as little as 10 years.

Ecological role

The African Tulip tree has a significant ecological role as it provides shade, shelter, and food for a variety of wildlife, including birds, insects, and small mammals. The tree’s large flowers are a source of nectar for bees and hummingbirds, while the leaves and bark are used medicinally in traditional African medicine.

Importance to Birds, animals, and insects

The African Tulip tree is an important food source for several bird species, including sunbirds, barbets, and hornbills. The tree’s flowers are also a source of nectar for bees and butterflies. The fruit of the tree is edible and is a food source for several mammals.

Flower description

The African Tulip tree produces large, showy, bright orange-red flowers that bloom in clusters at the end of branches. Each flower can be up to 12cm long and has five petals that are slightly reflexed.

Can it be grown in homes? 

The African Tulip tree can be grown in homes if there is sufficient space. The tree prefers well-drained soil and full sunlight and can grow in a wide range of soil types. The tree is drought-resistant, making it suitable for dry areas.

Bloom time months

The African Tulip tree blooms from late winter to early summer, usually from May to July.


The African Tulip tree is a beautiful and ornamental tree that has significant ecological and cultural importance. Its large, striking flowers make it a popular choice for landscaping, and its role in providing food and shelter for wildlife highlights its importance in maintaining biodiversity.

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