- History and Culture
Tabebuia pallida is a tree native to the Caribbean islands of Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guadalupe, Martinique, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines where it can be found in dry forests. The tree has been introduced throughout the tropics partly due to its resistance to long drought periods and for its ornamental foliage and flower blooms. A semi-deciduous tree, it is known to shed its foliage after blooming. It measures between 10 and 15 meters tall. The bark of the adult tree is grey-brown and cracked. It has simple three-leaflet dark-green leaves. It has white or pale-pink terminal flowers, while its fruit are 12 to 18-centimeters-long capsules, containing winged seeds which allow a fairly easy dispersal and reproduction.
As in its native range, T. pallida is found in the dry forests of Mauritius and has been planted as an ornamental tree in gardens and along roadsides. It was most likely introduced to Mauritius in the 1960s
No conservation measure is required for T. pallida as it is widespread throughout its native and introduced range. T. padilla is among the main invasive woody trees, as it has been noted to form thickets and monospecific stands that displace native flora and fauna and prevent understory vegetation or regeneration.
‘Tabebuia’ comes from Tupian an indigenous language in Brazil, which refers to a combination of ‘ant’ and ‘wood’ due to the symbiotic relationship this tree has with ants.