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Handroanthus serratifolius - (Vahl) S.Grose

Common Name Yellow Trumpet Tree
Family Bignoniaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The fine yellow dust arising when sawing or planing the wood has an irritating effect if inhaled and at times is reported to cause mild dermatitis[378 ].
Habitats A canopy tree of climax evergreen forest, forming pure stands in some areas but preferring the sides and tops of ridges to swampy ground[303 ].
Range S. America - Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas, north to Trinidad and Tobago.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (5 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Handroanthus serratifolius Yellow Trumpet Tree

João Medeiros wikimedia
Handroanthus serratifolius Yellow Trumpet Tree


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Handroanthus serratifolius is a large, deciduous tree of up to 37 m in height with cylindrical, straight, and often buttressed bole of up to 90 cm in diameter. Commonly found in South America, it is the major source of one of the most durable woods in the world known as Ipe wood. It should be noted however that dust from sawing the wood is reported to cause mild dermatitis. H. serratifolius is also used medicinally. Plant decoction, when combined with honey, is used to relieve coughs. The bark is used for fever, snake poison, manchineel poison, and leishmaniasis. The flowers are used for rheumatism, cough, and grippe. The wood is suitable for tool handles, railway sleepers, bridge construction, carpentry, posts and poles, naval constructions, etc.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Handroanthus serratifolius is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 25 m (82ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Bignonia araliacea Cham. Bignonia conspicua Rich. ex DC. Bignonia flavescens Velloso Bignonia patris


Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antidote  Antirheumatic  Antitumor  Febrifuge  Pectoral

A decoction of the whole plant, combined with honey, is used to relieve coughing[348 ]. The bark is antidote. It is used as a treatment against fever, snake poison and manchineel poison[348 ]. The dried bark of the trunk is grated and applied as a plaster as a remedy for leishmaniasis. The plaster is changed daily until the ulcer is cicatrized[348 ]. The wood is used in a decoction as a sudorific to treat fevers[348 ]. The flowers are pectoral[348 ]. The corolla of the flowers is used in a decoction, mixed with sugar, as a syrup to remedy rheumatism, coughing and grippe[348 ]. The plant contains lapachol, a naphthoquinone which has been shown to have antitumor activity[348 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Fencing  Wood

Other Uses: The heartwood of freshly cut wood is yellowish-green; becoming light to dark olive-brown, often with lighter or darker streaks as it dries; it is clearly demarcated from the 12 - 88mm wide, cream-coloured sapwood that dries to white or greyish-white[303 , 378 ]. The grain is straight to very irregular; texture is fine; lustre low to medium. The wood is very hard, extremely heavy, strong and very durable when in contact with the ground, though it is susceptible to marine-borer attack[303 , 378 ]. It is moderately difficult to work, especially with hand tools where it has a blunting effect on cutting edges. Flat-sawed material planes to a good finish but reduction of the cutting angle to at least 15 degrees is recommended to eliminate chipping of quartersawn stock. The wood finishes satisfactorily in other operations except for some difficulty encountered when interlocked grain is present. The timber stains and polishes well and requires little grain-filler. Pre-boring is required before nailing to prevent splitting and the bending of nails[378 ]. The wood is particularly well adapted for uses which take advantage of its strength, toughness, resilience, and very high resistance to insects and decay. It is suitable for use as railway sleepers, bridge construction, turnery, vehicles, cabinetwork, and carpentry, while some of its highest specially uses are for tool handles, walking sticks, fishing rods, and archery bows. Figured logs have been cut into veneer. Locally, the wood is also used extensively for fence posts, house poles, and building framing. It is also a good timber for naval construction and dock work above water and for general sporting goods items. In Brazil it finds wide use as factory flooring, machinery parts, mill rollers in sugar mills, and parts for vehicles and carts[303 , 378 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the moist, lowland tropics where it is found at elevations up to 800 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 24 - 32°c, but can tolerate 20 - 36°c[418 ]. It can be killed by temperatures of 5°c or lower[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 700 - 1,700mm, but tolerates 500 - 2,000mm[418 ]. Young plants can tolerate some shade, but they need increasing levels of light as they grow[419 ]. Prefers a well-drained soil, often found growing wild on slopes[419 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 7, tolerating 4.5 - 7.5[418 ]. Seedling plants establish moderately well when planted out and can reach a height of 3 metres within 2 years[419 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed - it has a short period of viability and so should be sown as soon as it is ripe[303 ]. The seeds can be sown in a semi-shaded position in a nursery seedbed or individual containers. High germination rate is usually obtained within 8 - 10 days. Seedlings develop quickly and are usually ready for planting out within 5 months[419 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Yellow Trumpet Tree, ipê-amarelo - Portuguese (Brazil), ipê-ovo-de-macuco - Portuguese (Brazil), pau-d'arco-amarelo - Portuguese (Brazil), piúva-amarela - Portuguese (Brazil).

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Trinidad and Tobago; French Guiana; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Peru; Ecuador; Bolivia, Plurinational State of; Colombia; Brazil

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Handroanthus guayacanGuayacanTree40.0 10-12 MLMHNM004
Handroanthus impetiginosusPau D'Arco, Pink Trumpet TreeTree20.0 10-12 FLMHNM243

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Expert comment


(Vahl) S.Grose

Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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