The Brazilian ipe is native to rainforests, especially in Brazil. Other common names include poui, trumpet trees and pau d'arco.
Around 100 species of ipe are mostly deciduous (but sometimes evergreen) trees, 15 to 50 feet tall with a large crown. Five to seven oval or blade-shaped leaflets radiate from the leaf base; sweet-smelling pink, white, yellow or purple flowers appear in spring. Fruit take the form of pods.
Brazilian ipe is common in Brazil, but it also appears from northern Mexico down to Venezuela and northern Argentina. It also grows in the Caribbean. Cultivated Brazilian ipe need full sun and a warmer climate, such as in Florida.
Brazilian ipe are of the Tabebuia genus, part of the Tecomeae tribe in the family Bigoniaceae.
Durable ipe wood is used for timber, especially in decking and outdoor construction. The ipe is also a popular landscaping tree. Bark from some species, such as the pink ipe, appears in supplements and in a tea tonic called lapacho.
The Brazilian ipe has been at risk due to illegal forestry in the Amazon and increased demand for lumber. Builders and homeowners should check that their ipe wood comes from a legitimately forested source.
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