Friday, December 9, 2011

Pink Cedar

Acrocarpus fraxinifolius
The single member of a genus that is closely related to Caesalpinia; that is a very beautiful, extremely fast growing, broad high crowned tall tree reaching over 80 feet, that is native to mountain forests from southern India to Indonesia. It is very fast growing with rates up to 10 feet per year for that first 5 or so years, and often reaches over 20 feet before it begins to branch. Some records include: 22 years - 84 feet with a trunk diameter of 15 inches; largest on record - 200 x 80 feet with a trunk diameter of 10 feet.
The very large bipinnate leaves may reach as much as 4 x 2 feet on vigorous shoots.
They are composed of leaflets, up to 6 x 2.5 inches in size. The foliage is scarlet-red at first before turning to deep green.
The showy scarlet-red flowers are borne in large, dense cylindrical panicles in early spring before the new growth begins.
Hardy zones 10 to 12 tolerating as low as 24 F. It thrives best at high elevations in the tropics as well as warm temperate regions as long as severe frosts do not occur. They prefer full sun and moderately fertile, deep, moist soil with a PH from 4 to 7. The Pink Cedar requires 60 or more inches of rainfall yearly unless irrigated. It is moderately drought tolerant but not salt tolerant.
The propagation is from seed which should be soaked in sulfuric acid for 50 minutes to soften the seed coat before sowing.

* photos taken on Jan 3 2011 @ Deerfield Beach Arboretum, Florida.

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