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The flower of the Tecoma stans attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds

Tecoma stans
Tecoma stans
Joy Nord

The Tecoma stans, also known as esperanza, yellow trumpet flower, and yellow bells, is a perennial shrub native to the tropics that has become naturalized in southern and west Texas. It is a favorite in landscapes and grows well in both high and low moisture conditions. It grows in any fairly good soil and in full sun, and has no major insect or disease problems.

This shrub grows between 2 to 5 feet tall with several branches in the upper half. It produces showy clusters of yellow bell, or trumpet, shaped flowers from summer until frost. Green bean pods appear after the flowers fade. Cut the bean pods or shear plants to encourage repetitive blossoms.

It bears pecan-like leaves that are sharply toothed and shiny. The leaves range between 4 to 8 inches long, with 7 to 9 narrow leaflets, which are 1 1/2 to 4 inches long. Leaves contain about 15 percent protein, and both the leaves and the flowers are nutritious food for livestock.

All parts of the plant contain biologically active compounds that are used in traditional medicines. In Mexico, it is used as a common home remedy for Type II insulin-resistant diabetes. In addition, a tea made from the flowers and leaves helps to soothe indigestion caused by heavy drinking. Tecoma tea is also effective against colds and the flu. Indians made bows from its wood and, in Mexico, a type of beer was prepared from the roots.

Tecoma stans is the official flower of the United States Virgin Islands and the floral emblem of the Bahamas.

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