The Yellow Elder (Tecoma stans)


The Yellow Elder (Tecoma stans) is a flowering shrub that belongs to the Bignoniaceae family. It is a tropical shrub or small tree, also known as Trumpetflower, Yellow Bells, and Yellow Trumpetbush. It is native to the Americas (Caribbean, Central, and South America). The shrub is commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions.

The plant produce vibrant yellow trumpet-shaped flowers and in many places it is cultivated for ornamental purposes in gardens and landscapes. The Yellow Elder is the national flower of The Bahamas, where it is locally known as the “Yellow Elder” or “Yellow Trumpet.” It was designated as the national flower in 1973.

As a deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub it can grow to heights of 6 to 20 feet (1.8 to 6 meters), depending on the growing conditions. The plant produces dark green leaves and yellow trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom in clusters at the end of the branches. The tubular flowers are about 2 inches (5 cm) long and have a flaring, five-lobed corolla.

It is a prolific bloomer. It blooms almost year-round especially in warm climates. When provided with the right cultural environment, it can work in any forms of garden. It is well-suited to warm climates and can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 8-11.

After flowering, the Yellow Elder produces slender, elongated seed pods. These pods can be up to 12 inches (30 cm) long and contain numerous small seeds.

The shrub is fast-growing and can be used for creating a living fence around the front yard or can be used as a specimen plant. It can also be planted in groups to create a mass of yellow blooms or in building a wildlife-friendly garden since its blooms are a magnet for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

In traditional medicine, various parts of the Yellow Elder plant are believed to have medicinal properties. For example, some cultures use the leaves or bark to make herbal teas for treating ailments such as fever, diabetes, and digestive issues.

Tecoma stans is drought-tolerant and grows well in warm climates. Once established and can work well in landscaping arid places. It is cultivated as an ornamental. They are grown in many parts of the world for their beautiful flowering, to adorn streets and gardens. It can be easily propagated by stem cuttings.

Tecoma stans has invasive potential and occasionally becomes a weed. The species is considered invasive in Africa (especially South Africa), South America, Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands. It now presents a significant danger for biodiversity. It competes with local species and can form thick, almost monospecific thickets.

The Yellow Elder Shrub Facts And Data

Scientific NameTecoma stans
FamilyTrumpet vine family
TypeTropical Evergreen
USDA Zone8-11
Size12 feet
Native AreaAmericas [Caribbean, Central and South America]
Growth RateFast
FormRounded or irregular

Landscape uses for yellow elder

  • corner-of-the-house shrub
  • under tall palms
  • backdrop for smaller shrubs
  • along a fence or property line
  • privacy screen
  • single yard specimen as bush or small tree
  • filler plant for a corner
  • shade plant by the patio