Plant Highlight: Tecoma stans ‘Gold Star’
Tecoma stans, often known by the common name “Yellow Bells”, belongs to the trumpet-vine family, or Bignoniaceae. Members of this family are mostly tropical, but a few extend north to more temperate climates. They are well-known for their showy trumpet-shaped flowers, and include vines such as the blood-red trumpet vine, trees such as Jacaranda and Tabebuia, and shrubs such as the subject of our highlight.
Tecoma stans occurs in the southern United States and southward to Mexico and Central America. Plants may be shrubs or small trees, and the abundant large funnel-form flowers are its most notable feature. The leaves are divided into leaflets, arrayed on either side of the midrib with a terminal leaflet at the end.
The cultivar ‘Gold Star’ was introduced into horticulture by Texas A&M University, selected from a garden in San Antonio for its desirable features. These include its compact form, which contrasts with some of the taller and rangier forms of the species. It als has a high tolerance for extreme heat and is pest-resistant. But most notable is its prolific flowering. Normally, the species blooms from summer into the fall, but this cultivar commences flowering in early spring and continues all the way until frost occurs. ‘Gold Star’ achieves a height of about 6 feet (2 meters), and will withstand temperatures down to at least 20º F (-7º C). When temperatures drop significantly below freezing the branches may die back from the cold, but they will grow back rapidly from the base in spring.
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