Golden Trumpet Tree

Handroanthus chrysotrichus Syn. Tabebuia chrysotricha
Tree
Opposite
Compound
Yellow
Green

A rather small spreading tree growing 4-10 m tall with branchlets and leaves covered in goldencoloured hairs when young. 

Common names 
Also known as: Golden Trumpet Tree,
Family 
Bignoniaceae
Deciduous 
Yes
Flowering time 
Spring
Native/Exotic 
Exotic
Origin 
Brazil, Mexico, Central America, Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
Notifiable 
No
State declaration 
Nil
Council declaration 
NIL - Reduce
Known distribution 

Golden Trumpet Tree has been recorded becoming naturalised on a few occasions in recent years in northern NSW and south-eastern Queensland. It was first reported spreading from cultivation in the grounds of the Bellingen Hospital in 2003. This population consisted of more than 1000 plants, and ranged from seedlings right up to fruiting trees about 10 m tall. Smaller populations have also been reported becoming established along the edges of conservation reserves in south-eastern Queensland in recent years (i.e. at The Gap and Burbank in Brisbane). The infestation at Burbank consisted of dozens of immature plants scattered over a large area, ranging from young seedlings to saplings up to 1.5 m tall.

Habitat 

Prefers sheltered sunny locations, fertile soils and moderate moisture.   

Habit 

Small tree with a rounded spreading canopy

Impact and control methods 

Golden Trumpet Tree is a relatively recent introduction to Australia, but it has become a popular ornamental street tree in recent decades. Due to its wind-dispersed seed, it is considered to have serious invasive potential in northern NSW. It is regarded as a priority weed by the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority (NRCMA).

Stem and leaves 

The leaves of saplings and mature trees have five leaflets that spread from the same point like the fingers of a hand (i.e. they are palmately compound). Each of these leaflets is borne on a stalk up to 7 cm long and is oblong or oval in shape (2-115cm long and 1-5.5cm wide) with rounded or shortly pointed tips. They are entire or slightly toothed near their tips, and are also covered in golden-yellow coloured hairs when young. However, young seedlings initially have simple leaves with obviously toothed margins and older seedlings have leaves with three
leaflets. The leaves of adult trees are shed during winter.

Flowers and fruits 

The attractive flowers are produced in abundance in early spring, before the new leaves develop. They are arranged in dense clusters at the tips of the branches, with each flower being stalkless or borne on a stalk up to 5 mm long. These flowers are tubular in shape (4-7.5 cm long) and bright golden yellow in colour, with five shallow petal lobes and reddish lines present in the throat. The fruit is a long and slender capsule (10-40 cm long and 8-12 mm wide) which is brown and velvety in appearance due to a dense covering of rusty coloured hairs. Each fruit capsule contains large numbers of papery seeds with transparent wings on either side (6-9 mm long and 17-29 mm wide).

Reproduction and dispersal 

This species produces vast quantities of winged papery seeds that are easily dispersed by wind movement. Seeds may also be spread larger distances in dumped garden waste, by water, or in contaminated soil.

Similar species 

Some closely-related species with yellow tubular flowers, also known as Golden Trumpet Tree (i.e. Tabebuia chrysantha and Tabebuia urea), are also grown as street trees in Australia. However, neither of these species has yellowish hairs covering its new growth.