Long-John, Triplaris cumingiana,is in its glory right now on the
west side of the Bailey Palm Glade. The tree’s red (female) flowers are on long racemes, and against a brilliant blue winter sky, they are spectacular. Hailing from Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Colombia, this flowering tree shows off every winter. The stems are hollow and inhabited by stinging ants when in their natural setting, so the tree is sometimes referred to as the ant tree. This slender, tall tree may reach 80 feet or more, and may flower later in the year in Central America, from February to about April.
When coming to see the Triplaris, wander over to the butterfly garden. It’s a good time to see Julias and skippers such as the Long-tailed, with its iridescent blue-green body, Horace’s duskywing and the Twin-Spot.
It's the perfect time of year to visit the garden and spend a leisurely hour watching butterflies.