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Photo by Dev Anand Teelucksingh of the Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society

The Poui is one of the most beautiful flowering trees that can be seen in Trinidad and Tobago, particularly when there are multiple trees in close proximity. It is native to Central and South America and some of the islands in the Lesser Antilles. In Trinidad, the Yellow Poui is also known as Apamata and Gold Tree, however it has a variety of names in other parts of the world. In Mexico the tree is called amapa and in Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica it is called cortez. In Ecuador the trees are known as madera negra and in Peru, tahuari. Lapacho negro is the name for the tree in Paraguay and Argentina; in Surinam, it is called greenheart, pau d'arco, taheebo, ipe roxo ; in Venezuela, flor amarillo; in Colombia, guayacan polvillo. Other commercial names for poui include Brazilian walnut and ironwood. The scientific name for this tree is TABEBUIA SERRATIFOLIA.

The Poui is one of the largest and strongest of tropical forest trees, growing up to 150 feet tall while the base can be 4 to 7 feet in diameter. All the leaves are shed early in the dry season, usually in January and February and new leaves do not appear for three to four months. Flowering takes place in April, with the flowers being in clusters and each flower is yellow and trumpet shaped. The ligulate pod is 18" long and 1" wide and contains a lot of small feathery seeds. The inside of the pod is eaten by toucans. These seeds are wind-blown and germinate easily in moist soil, so that over time many poui trees will grow in one area. 

Poui is prized for its stability, durability, strength and natural resistance to decay, wet conditions, and infestation by termites and borers. It has a Class A fire rating, the same rating given to concrete and steel. Poui finds use in commercial exterior structures such as boardwalks, piers, docks and outdoor benches due to its durability. One example of a popular site using Poui is the Atlantic City boardwalk. It is also a favoured material for furniture. In Suriname's traditional medicine the inner lining of the bark is boiled and a tea is made that is used for stomatitis, anemia, malaria, colds, cough, flu and ulcers.

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Photo by Dev Anand Teelucksingh of the Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society

The Pink Poui, scientific name, Tabebuia pentaphylla is also called called Pink Tecoma, Pink Trumpet and Trumpet Tree. It is like its relative the Yellow Poui in size and also sheds its leaves at the start of the Dry Season, flowering in April.


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All photographs (unless otherwise stated) are the property of Brian Ramsey. No portion of the material on this site, including the photographs, may be reproduced without the express written consent of Outdoor Business Group Limited and Brian Ramsey. The permission of the other owners of the photographs must also be obtained for use.   

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Last modified: February 16, 2008