D13. African Tulip

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The African tulip tree is a fast growing evergreen, which can reach heights of 35 meters.  It is known as the Fountain tree, Uganda Flame tree, the Nandi or Nile Flame tree, and the Squirt tree, among other names.  It is indigenous to tropical Africa, although it is grown ornamentally in many countries with tropical climates around the world.  


It is the only member of the genus Spathodea but is a member of the Bignoniaceae family.  It has a flowering period of between five and six months, and produces edible seeds with transparent wings.  It is used as a boundary fence and living hedge and the flowers yield a dye which varies in shades but which can be used to dye silk.  It is called the Squirt tree because the flower buds contain a watery liquid.