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Welcome to our eighth article in the series of posts ‘Flowers in Casa de Campo’, an insight into the many different types of plants found across the Casa de Campo complex. Today we bring you the “African Tuliptree.” Scientifically called Spathodea campanulata or Amapola, as is known in the Dominican Republic, is a native from western Africa and is a plant that is cultivated in all tropical regions of the world. It is mainly used as an ornamental (grown for its attractive appearance) or shade tree. It grows very quickly but it has to be exposed to sunlight completely; its wood is of low quality and its branches can easily break.
This interesting flower can be seen all around the areas of Casa de Campo and Altos de Chavón, serving as another factor of attractiveness for the tourists visiting the always gorgeous and artistic Altos de Chavón.
African Tuliptree in Dominican Republic “Amapola”
In the Dominican Republic, this is a very common plant that is seen everywhere, its capacity of growing quicker than any other plant serves as a good shade for other minor growing plants. For example, it is used as a shade control for the Cacao tree.
This flower makes our Dominican rural areas very colorful and enhances our already breathtaking views. There is a longstanding myth about this plant; It is said that farmers wouldn’t let their daughters step on the flower, since the plant had aphrodisiac powers that will make their daughters want to marry the first man they see.
The song “Amapola” by famous Dominican Artist Juan Luis Guerra is inspired by this tree; its lyrics and combination of folkloric instruments resulted in a wonderful song. Click here to learn the “Amapola” Lyrics.
African Tuliptree “Amapola”
- In the Dominican Republic, this tree is known as “Amapola”.
- Native from Africa, hence its name
- Medium-size to large tree up to 35 m tall and 175 cm in diameter.
- It can rehabilitate degraded land through its rapid growth.
- The wood is creamy-white, soft, and light; it is suitable for rough carpentry, crates, and shutters.
- The seeds are used as food in Africa, and plant extracts are used in African traditional medicine.
- Its main use is to be used as an ornamental tree.
This is the eighth article of our series “Flowers in Casa de Campo”, in future articles you can look forward to reading about: The Cayena, the Bayahibe Rose, the Isabel Segunda and much more!
* This article was written by former collaborator Daniela Medina