IV- The Bridalveil Tree (Caesalpinea granadillo)
w T.K. Broschat, H. Donselman, A.A. Will, Jr, and A. W. MeerQntrai Science
University of Florida, IFAS lr
Fort Lauderdale Research & Education Center Library
Broward Community College APR 11 1989
FLREC Ornamentals Research Report 88-4
University of Florida
The bridalveil tree, Caesalpinea granadillo, is a native of northern South America
where it is sometimes given the name of Maracaibo Ebony. Its wood is extremely hard and
dense and is used to make umbrella handles. As a tropical ornamental tree, it is one of the
few trees that has a weeping or vase shape, yet is structurally very strong. Bridalveil trees
attain a height of about 30', but may be 50' or more across. They have attractive exfoliating
bark and compound leaves with leaflets small enough to be inconspicuous when dropped on
a lawn. Small bright yellow flowers are produced over a period of several months starting as
early as August and often continuing through November. Woody seed pods of this legume
ripen in February in south Florida.
The bridalveil tree is propagated primarily by seed since cuttings generally do not root.
The seeds are actually quite soft like sunflower seeds, but the hard woody pods containing
them do not dehisce and must be carefully cut or torn apart to extract the seeds. This is a
rather tedious procedure that could affect the availability and cost of bridalveil tree seed.
The seeds germinate in about two weeks under intermittent mist, but the seedlings must be
removed from the mist shortly thereafter to prevent damping off. Once transplanted they
grow fairly quickly, and staking may be necessary for the first year or two. Bridalveil trees
are among the most attractive of all trees, but often develop a poor branching pattern with
many crossing limbs if not properly pruned during their first 5-8 years.
Bridalveil trees require high fertility and regular irrigation for normal growth, but will
) tolerate low fertility and no supplemental irrigation in landscape situations. They are
shallow-rooted and this must be taken into consideration when choosing a site for these
trees. Bridalveil trees are semi-deciduous and drop about two-thirds of their leaves in
December or January, but new leaves emerge again in March. They are damaged by
temperatures of 290 F or less. Their salt tolerance is not known. No serious insect or
disease problems have been encountered in south Florida.