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Ornamental Trees in the Philippines

nature landscapes image by Albert Lozano from

With its tropical climate, the Philippines is a haven for numerous trees. Many of the trees are fruit-bearing, but some are more ornamental in nature. Anyone visiting the Philippines can't help but notice the beautiful trees that line its streets, providing beautiful blooms year-round. Although some of the trees are not native to the Philippines, they flourish well in this archipelago.


Belonging to the botanical family Apocynaceae, kalachuchi (Plumeria acuminata) is an ornamental tree that produces flowers in white, orange, red or pink. The kalachuchi's flower has a small calyx that has five lobes. Its corolla has big, shiny, oblong leaves. Originating from Mexico, kalachuchi grows very well in the Philippines.The kalachuchi tree is 9 to 22 feet high and has smooth, fragile, shiny and succulent stems. Crowded at the terminal end of the branch are oblong-shaped leaves measuring 15 inches long and 2 inches wide. Other kalachuchi trees produce white, fragrant flowers measuring 5 to 6 centimeters long.

Fire Tree, Flame Tree or Royal Poinciana

The fire tree (Delix regina) is the most widely-seen along the streets of Manila. It is similar to a large oak tree, riddled with red blossoms that grow in thick clusters with fire-like carnation color. Rarely does the tree have leaves when it is in full bloom. The fire tree may show bits of green from its flaming red foliage, but in general, it has an intense blazing red effect. The clusters of flame-red flowers measure 4 to 5 inches across. The fire tree can grow up to 40 feet tall. Its wide-spreading, umbrella-like canopy can be wider than its height.

Kanya Pistula or Golden Shower

The golden shower tree is not just attractive to behold, but it also has scented yellow flowers that are relaxing and soothing. Golden shower (Cassia fistula) is a moderately-sized, erect deciduous tree. Its leaves are pinnate, smooth and 11 to 16 inches long. It produces eight to 16 ovate, leaflets about 4 inches long. The flowers are fragrant and bright yellow; borne in long, lax racemes, 12 to 20 inches long. The pods are cylindrical, 12 to 24 inches long measuring approximately 1 inch thick, which are dark brown, pendulous, smooth and shiny. Each pod produces numerous seeds, embedded in black, sweet pulp.

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