Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tower Tree, Brazilian Fire Tree
Schizolobium parahybum

Family: Caesalpiniaceae (ses-al-pin-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Schizolobium (ski-zo-LOH-bee-um) (Info)
Species: parahybum

Synonym:Schizolobium parahyba
Synonym:Schizolobium parahybrum
Synonym:Caesalpinia parahyba
Synonym:Cassia parahyba
Synonym:Schizolobium excelsum

13 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

over 40 ft. (12 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium
Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 31 photos.
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7 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral BDobbins On Nov 9, 2014, BDobbins from Vista, CA wrote:

I've seen Brazilian Fire Trees that have split trunks. Do you know how to force the tree to do this or will it do it on its own?

Positive BayAreaTropics On Jun 6, 2014, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

I ordered seeds around April reading that they can germinate in three a month later,I receive my seeds- 5 of them. For weeks they sat over a heated mat in potting soil. I took them out,and they still looked like guitar picks,hard as rocks. Finding that I couldn't even nick them with a serrated kitchen knife..I used my wire cutters chipping off the ends to reveal green embryo's. I repot. Lo and behold three days later, they germinate!.
Scarify is required is no myth.

Positive Pugmeister On Nov 19, 2012, Pugmeister from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

I am in West Hollywood, California. My tree has multiple branches at the top, and a side branch, and is THRIVING. It only branched a year ago, after rising above the afternoon shade of a three story building. I recommend a bit more water, and regular fertilizing from early spring through October. I have also added some composted steer manure to the soil.


Positive TropiSocal_dave On Mar 1, 2010, TropiSocal_dave from Garden Grove, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

There are two good size trees at The San Diego Zoo. The lower trunks are comparable in width to a large King Palm. The leaves had all fallen off this winter. The common name that was given was Yellow Jacaranda.
My first seedling was attacked by a caterpillar, and then died of root rot in the winter. My bigger specimen was also being attacked by bugs. I now spray the leaves with anti-bug spray.

Positive wmrazek On Feb 18, 2006, wmrazek from Yorba Linda, CA wrote:

Growing this tree in Anaheim, California, it took 4-5 years to reach 20 feet, and flowered and set seed. It is a spectacular plant. Gardeners would stop at our house just to ask what it was.

Positive socalpalms On Nov 4, 2005, socalpalms from Escondido, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

this very fast growing tree does not like cold or frost . if a tree gets to big cut to any height and it will re-grow. can get dried out on very hot days if left dry to long.

Positive WildBloomers On Jul 20, 2004, WildBloomers from Saint Petersburg, FL wrote:

This plant grows well in St Pete, Fl. It gets knocked back by our occasional freezes but recovers quickly. In this area it rarely or sparsely seeds due to the lack of natural pollinators. The seed pods look like 4" long flattened tadpoles which turn black as they mature, crack open and release their single seed looking like a 1" elongated flat lima bean.

Positive Monocromatico On Jan 3, 2004, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

I was pointing out this tree to my dad the other day as a good alternative for a big tree for our garden. Thatīs a fast growing species, usually one of the first to take over the upper layers of recovering forests. It has been only recently used for gardening and landscaping, so thatīs still a species with a great potential to be explored.

Neutral palmbob On Dec 31, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a good shade tree for summers in So Cal if you live in a warm, not too windy areas. This is one of the fastest growing trees, reaching heights up to 50' in just 3-4 years. However, here in So Cal, it often gets blown after that (wimpy roots). In the tropics it can grow up to 100'. My first impression of this tree was that it must be some sort of unique tree fern. It has one straight up trunk topped with a horizontal plane of legumatous, ferny-like leaves in 360 degrees, making a nice dappled shade. I have seen one enormous specimen in Thailand that flowered (rarely if ever witness that in So Cal) and it had multiple branches way high up. Here in So Cal it is just a single stem and the only branches are the small, weak ones at the very top holding the leaves. It is, however, here in So Cal, decidious, and just a stick in the winter. Where I lived in Thousand Oaks in California, this was a very marginal plant and many died in order for me to have one survive. It loves heat, and can survive in very sunny, hot areas with well draining soil that do get pretty cold in the winter.

Have a new place to grow this plant, and am much more successful in this less chilly climate (San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles county). Other things I noticed about this plant- leaves fold up for the night. Just like in Caesalpinias and some other legumes. Also, branches are quite sticky after being formed until a few months later when the stickiness seems to dry up.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

El Cajon, California
Encinitas, California
Escondido, California
Garden Grove, California
Goleta, California
Los Angeles, California
Oceanside, California
Reseda, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Vista, California
Delray Beach, Florida
Mulberry, Florida
Naples, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Palm Beach, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida

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