San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
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Trumpet trees again in bloom

Every year during the dry season, wonderful pink trumpet trees bloom across the landscape of Costa Rica. The leaves fall and the trees bloom with flowers ranging in color from pastel pink to pastel maroon.

Known here as roble sabana in Spanish, these world-class landscaping species are found around the world from Hawaii to India. Many of the towns and cities of Costa Rica show off these colorful trees in parks and along avenues. They also grow naturally in pastures and savannas in the warmer regions of Costa Rica.

Many people are familiar with these trees, but few outside of indigenous circles know theirs secrets. The Maya considered these trees sacred and used them as medicine to heal their people.  The inner bark of trumpet trees has been used for centuries in folk remedies in the tropical Americas. This powerful botanical medicine is known for healing a wide range of illnesses because of its ability to restore the immune system.

Traditional use of the inner bark as a tea has been reported to help in the following conditions: anemia, arteriosclerosis, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, boils, cancer, Candida, colitis, colds, constipation, coughs, cystitis, diabetes, diarrhea, emphysema, dysentery, eczema, fevers, flu, gastritis, gall bladder problems, infections, liver problems, lung problems, leukemia, pain relief, parasites, prostate problems, pyorrhea and wounds.

No wonder indigenous people considered it sacred.

Growing your own 

Seeds can be collected from the tree’s seed capsules, which are 30 centimeters long. They should then be planted in plastic nursery bags with average soil. Keep the containers well watered and in the shade until the young seedlings sprout, then slowly move the seedlings into full sun. Select sites for planting that are sunny with good soil drainage. During the first year of growth, keep your new trees weed-free and watered once a week during the dry season. Once these hardy trees are well established, little care is needed. An annual application of organic fertilizers around the base of the trees will help to keep them growing well. Pruning the tops of these trees will help to keep them low and compact. These trimmed branches can then be used for preparing a healthy cup of tea.

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I’ve always been amazed by how many different hummingbirds share the Trumpet flowers

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