Ipê – Rio’s flowering tree

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One of Brazil’s national trees, the Ipê (of the genus handroanthus), as the image above demonstrates, can be found in Rio de Janeiro. Two places in particular they can more easily be seen are in Flamengo Park and the Botanical Gardens. There are many native species of the tree, which loses its leaves during its flowering period, in winter and early spring. The Ipê comes in other bright colors as well, such as pink/purple and white.

Thus, “handroanthus is widely used as ornamental tree in the tropics in landscaping gardens, public squares, and boulevards…” [1] According to Rio’s Parks & Gardens Foundation, as reported by Globo, the types of Ipês described below count amongst the most planted trees in the city [2] (though I’m doubtful of that figure since anyone who’s been to Rio can tell you there are other more abundant species around).

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Yellow

Quite abundant in the Amazon, the yellow Ipê prefers well-drained soil, situated on embankments. Its height varies between 8 – 20 meters. It can be easily recognized by its color, which appears between August and November.

Purple

The purple Ipê calls attention to itself due to its beautiful color, size and easy adaptation when cultivated. It’s used a lot in urban forestation, with its flowers appearing with the falling of its leaves, between June and September. It can reach 20 meters high.

White

The white Ipê is of a medium size, at around 7 – 16 meters high. Its white flowers are its most marked characteristic. Due to its high capacity to adapt to dry soil, it’s used a lot in reforestation, but also in the forestation of cities, due to its beauty. It flowers between August and October.

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A few months back, Globo Rural did a 12-minute piece on the Ipê, which you can see here (PT). Interesting to note how the wood makes up New York’s Highline and Coney Island’s promenade.

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