Aden Apple, Portia Tree, Indian Tulip Tree

Thespesia populnea

Family: Malvaceae (mal-VAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Thespesia (thess-PEE-zee-uh) (Info)
Species: populnea (pop-ULL-nee-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Hibiscus bacciferus
Synonym:Hibiscus populneus
Synonym:Hibiscus populneoides
Synonym:Malvaviscus populneus



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


Unknown - Tell us


USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Maroon (Purple-Brown)

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer




Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


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

Big Pine Key, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Bradley, Florida

Patrick Afb, Florida

Saint Augustine, Florida

Honaunau, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii

Kailua Kona, Hawaii

Kealakekua, Hawaii

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Vieques, Puerto Rico

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 27, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council has listed this species as a Category I invasive. It forms dense thickets which impoverish natural habitat.

This is also a listed invasive species in the Bahamas and in Puerto Rico.


On Nov 26, 2008, Plant_Man_28 from Saint Augustine, FL wrote:

I planted thespesia from seed in 2003 thinking it was baby hawiian woodrose, they mislabled the seed and I didn't know what it was. Anyways I stuck with the plant and kept repotting it year after year and this plant does grow fairly quickly for a tree!
I planted it in the ground summer 2007, by then it was about 3 feet tall. This is the first summer it has flowered. The flowers are like small Hibiscus, they start out yellow and change color to pinkish orange before they die. All in all it is a beautiful tree and is growing like crazy this past summer . It is now around 7 feet tall and has a nice trunk 3 1/2 inch diameter. Nice round canopy. It's deciduous in winter. Has survived 27 degrees with just tip die back but it sure bounced back this past summer doubling its size in 6 mo... read more


On Dec 23, 2004, DawnRain from Bartow, FL wrote:

I am in mid central Florida, well away from coasts or swamps, with the exception of being flooded for weeks this year due to heavy rains and hurricanes. My plant is 3 years old, kept pruned to about 5ft, it is very ful and beautiful. I love the blooms. While I will not go against those knowledgable that have made it a #1 invasive and will not trade it with anyone, my own plant has not spread itself anywhere. In two years of blooming, it is still the only one of its kind around here. I would hate to give it up. DR


On Dec 22, 2004, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Aden Apple, Seaside Mahoe, Portia Tree or Indian Tulip Tree (Thespesia populnea) is very invasive in mangrove swamps, mangrove swamp edges and disturbed coastal areas in central and southern Florida, from around Brevard County on the east coast and Sarasota and near Tampa Bay on the west coast southward through the Keys. It grows as a large shrub or small to medium tree, spreading quickly and forming thickets, crowding out native species such as mangroves and forms sandy ridges in mangrove swamps and mangrove swamp edges, prohibiting the growth of mangroves and other native species and allowing other non-native invasive species to spread! It is native to the Old and New World Tropics worldwide and is widespread and invasive in central and southern Florida, the Bahamas, and throughout the C... read more


On Jun 4, 2003, Chamma from Tennille, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a good tree for small gardens or patios. THe heart-shaped leaves are about 4 inches long. The short lived bell shapped flowers are yellow and then darken to a cinnamon color on the tree. The flowers are followed by apple-shaped fruit.