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The IpÍ-amarelo - (Tecoma chrysostricha)


The National Flower*:
                     IpÍ is the common name given to the many Brazilian plants and trees belonging to the mimosa, bignonia and borage families; there is no English equivalent. The IpÍ-amarelo, a member of the genus Tecoma, is the national flower of Brazil. It belongs to the tropical family of bignonias, which includes almost four hundred Brazilian species. The genus Tecoma contains many species, well known and easily distinguishable by the Brazilian people: IpÍ-amarelo, IpÍ-tabaco, IpÍ-roxo, etc.

The Tecoma have a small or medium spread, but attain considerable heights. Some have wrinkled bark and others smooth. The leaves are digitated; dark green on the upper side and light green on the lower side. The blossoms are found in panicles or in the terminal or axillary umbrellas: they are large and very beautiful. Between September and October, the IpÍ-amarelo sheds its foliage and bursts into blossom; three, four, or five flowers may replace one leaf. However, this spectacle is short-lived, lasting one week. Some of the species under the colloquial name of IpÍ-amarelo are: a) Tecoma chrysostricha- found in Sao Paulo with gleaming golden blossoms; b) Tecoma lapacho- found in ParanŠ and Matto Grosso, also flowering in glod; and c) Tecoma ipÍ- whose black and purple blossoms are predominate in the Rio Grande arca. This tree also provides a valuable florestal essence of economic importance.

The IpÍ-mandioca (Tecoma alba) is noted for its pallid yellow flowers, wich bloom from August to October in the state of Rio. However, more amenable climates, such as those of states of Minas Gerais, Sao Paulo, ParanŠ, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul may cause the trees to remain in bloom until December. These do not attain more the forty feet in height, and are small in branch expansion.

The wood of the ipÍ is utilized in cabinetmaking, supports, poles, vehicle bodies, and hydraulic works. The decorative ebano-amarelo and ebano-pardo are most used in cabinetmaking . The drug industry employs by- products of the ipÍ for a dozen preparations.

The fruit of the ipÍ is predominantly in pod form, containing many flat and winged seeds. Very rarely do fleshy and herbaceous fruits occur. Seeds are disseminated by wind, germinating in humid places. The ipÍ grows rapidly and survives after transplanting.

* Source: Permanent Mission of Brazil to the OAS.


Updated: 19 March 2008