Botanical name: Tipuana tipu
Common name: Pride of Bolivia, Rosewood
Tipuana tipu, is a South American tree (Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and Bolivia) known in English as Pride of Bolivia or as Rosewood (although all genuine rosewoods belong to a different genus, Dalbergia). It is the only member of the genus Tipuana and belongs to the Fabaceae family. It is widely planted from the Mediterranean region to the tropics.
Tipuana tipu is well known for its use as a shade tree planted frequently in the warmer parts of the world, a source of a valuable “rosewood” timber used for furniture and cabinet making and as ornamental street tree, due to the beautiful pea-shaped bright yellow flowers that cover the tree canopy in late spring to early summer months. The fruit that follows is an interesting single seeded winged samara that looks like the unrelated fruit of a maple tree. In the mild Madeiran climate this tree is semi-deciduous.
In the centre of Funchal you can find a lot of these trees, growing side by side with jacaranda trees. The idea, from the city hall of Funchal, was to have these two trees growing in the town, one producing purple flowers and other yellow flowers, to represent the colours of the flag of Funchal. Both trees flower abundantly and carpet the ground beneath the tree with yellow and purple flowers.
Elda Sousa (Qualified and Certified Tourist Guide)
Photo and Video Courtesy of Marla Castro