Selected Trees and Shrubs
Gmelina phillipensis; Synonym: G. asiatica, G. hystrix,
Common names: Gmelina, Shrimp Plant, Parrot’s Beak, Snapdragon Tree
Description: Scrambling shrub, with unique, exotic flowers; branches pendant, sometimes with dull, axillary spines; normally growing in a bower, up to 5 m tall and wide (16 ft); leaves dark green, elliptical, 6-10 cm long (2.3-3.9 in); flowers bright yellow, resemble parrot’s beak or Snapdragon, 4-6 cm long (1.5-2.3 in), at ends of pendulous, tube-like racemes of several overlapping, persistent, purple to tan bracts; as new flowers replace old and bracts persist, racemes elongate, may be up to 25 cm long (10 in); older; longer racemes have tan bracts; fruit a yellow, one-seeded, drupe; a vibrant Gmelina specimen can be seen near the Bamboo grove.
Plant Family: Belongs to the Verbenaceae or Verbena family, which includes the shrub Blue Petrea (Petrea volubilis), Teak (Tectona grandis) and Bois Lezard (Vitex divaricata). [However, recent phylogenetic studies seem to show that several genera traditionally classified in Verbenaceae belong instead in Lamiaceae. These include Gmelina, Tectona and Vitex. Since the issue does not appear to have been settled, we have stuck with the traditional classification. Click here for more information].
Natural Habitat:Tropical plant, thriving in full sunlight on well drained soil; propagated by cuttings and seed.
Origin and Distribution: Native to India and the Philippines; variously distributed to much of tropical world.
Uses: Primarily ornamental for its bright yellow flowers at ends of long, pendulous, tube-like racemes of persistent purple to tan bracts.
Robert A. DeFilipps. Useful Plants of the Commonwealth of Dominica, West Indies. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 1998
Dan H. Nicolson. Flora of Dominica, Part 2: Dicotyledoneae. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 1991
Arlington A. James. An Illustrated Guide to Dominica’s Botanic Gardens. Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Dominica 2007
C.D. Adams. Flowering Plants of Jamaica. University of the West Indies, Mona, Glasgow University Press 1972
Gmelina phillipensis. Top Tropicals, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, March 2009 (toptropicals.com)
Verbenaceae. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, March 2009 (en.wikipedia.org) P.D. Cantino, R.M. Harley, & S.J. Wagstaff.Genera of Labiatae: status and classification, in Harley, R.M. & Reynolds, T. (eds) Advances in Labiate Science. Richmond, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 1992, pp. 511-522. (Wikipedia ref. for genera change - see Verbenaceae)
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