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Fast Growing Tropical Trees

tropical forest image by Mirek Hejnicki from

Many tropical trees grow very quickly. Although not a tree, one of the fastest growing plants is China's giant bamboo, which can grow up to 4 feet per day. Trees, however, don't grow as fast, even though trees like the royal poinciana can grow an impressive 5 feet per year. Many other tropical trees grow very quickly when compared to trees in other climates.

Red Sandalwood

Red sandalwood is a tropical tree that can quickly grow to reach 18 to 45 feet. It has compound leaves, or leaves made up of clusters of tiny leaves, and grows fragrant, light yellow blossoms. The seeds from the red sandalwood are popular as beads and ornaments. They are toxic if eaten raw but are edible when cooked. They are commonly roasted and eaten in parts of Indonesia. Red sandalwood needs full sun and does best in slightly acidic soils.

Floss Silk Tree

The floss silk tree can have either pink or white flowers. Both types of silk tree are fast growing tropical trees. These trees can easily reach 50 feet in height and can actually be wider than they are tall. The floss silk tree generally flowers in fall and winter, with many trees flowering in October. The fruits produced by this tree are pear-shaped and filled with silky, white floss, much like kapok floss. Floss from these fruits was often used as a pillow stuffing.

Royal Poinciana

The royal poinciana is one of the world's most colorful trees. This tropical tree is covered for several weeks in the spring by 4 to 5-inch, flame-red flowers. Either from a distance or up close, these flowers are striking. This tropical tree is native to Madagascar, but grows well in many tropical areas. It is very fast growing, increasing in height by about 5 feet per year until maturity. This tree can reach 40 feet tall and can have a spread that is wider than the tree's height.

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