The Brazilian Rain Tree has a very distinctive history in Florida. The story goes that a number of years ago, Jim Moody received an envelope containing seeds from his sister-in-law in Brazil. One tree grown from the seeds developed a curious trunk, as the tree aged the trunk flattened and fluted, this continued into many of the branches. Since then, all the trees you see today that have those characteristics are ancestors of that original tree.

 FLOWER... They produce a powder puff type flower that is white at first and then turning yellow in a few days.

 PRUNING... Very hard wood, take care with your tools when pruning large branches. They can be heavily pruned, but is very important to cut above the desired spot to allow for die back. When the die back is complete, cut the stump off, being careful not to damage live wood which will cause more die back. Roots may be heavily pruned, but be careful to leave many feeder roots and take an equal amount away from the top of the tree.

 TRAIN... Wiring can be used, but be careful, they easily scar. Use tie downs when possible instead of wiring. Clip and grow works very well.

 WATERING... It prefers to be evenly moist. Wet feet will cause root rot. Use well draining soil. If in doubt, allow top of soil to dry between watering.

 LIGHT... Full sun except in the hottest part of the summer. If the leaves begin to close during the heat of the day, give the tree more afternoon shade.

 INSECTS/DISEASE... Not had any problems except they are very susceptible to nematodes. Keep them off the ground.

 REPOT... Minimum night temperatures- low to mid 60's. It does not like to be root bound but usually only needs repotted every two to three years.

 FERTILIZE... Is a heavy feeder. I use Osmocote for maintenance feeding and a 20-20-20 monthly or even bi-monthly for optimum growth.

 SEASONAL... Protect below 45 degrees.

 NOTE... Another nice characteristic of this tree is its naturally exfoliating bark. The common name was derived by the leaves closing when rain touches them, they also close at night.
Tree of the Month
Pithecellobium tortum
Brazilian Rain Tree