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Leopard tree

Libidibia ferrea

syn. Caesalpinia ferrea, Brazilian ironwood (Eng.), Luiperdboom (Afr.)

Grown in gardens for the dappled shade it provides and its beautiful trunk. The smooth bark exfoliates easily but incompletely, often leaving large dark brown patches against a light background, the reason for the common name. In moderate climates that experience light frost or dry summer climates, the leopard tree is not a giant and ideal for small gardens, but if you plant it in climates similar to its natural subtropical habitat, the leopard tree grows to 15 m tall with an aggressive root system that mirrors the size of the tree above the ground. It is deciduous in cold climates.

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Flowering time
Spring
Fruiting time
Autumn

Harvesting

Generally not harvested, in Brazil the trees are harvested for timber.

Propagation

Seed
Sow fresh seeds in spring.

Special features

Pot plant
Can be planted into large containers.
Drought resistant
Once established the effective root system help to survive dry spells.
Attractive leaves
Dainty leaves allow filtered sunlight through. In a cold climate, the leaves will drop at the beginning of winter.

Geography

Origin
South America, Brazil, Bolivia
Natural climate
Subtropical

Environment

Light
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Tender

Uses

Personality

Family
Fabaceae
Flower colour
Yellow
Scent
None

Problems

Generally problem free

Companion plants

Leopard trees are forest trees and grows comfortable in small spaces or close to other trees.

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