Sweet shade,  or Native frangipani as it’s known in Australia, is actually Hymenosporum flavum, a rainforest tree native to Queensland and New South Wales. It is the single species in the genus Hymenosporum. And even though the common name is Frangipani it is actually more closely related to pittosporum.

This very popular Australian native is popular throughout much of the warm-temperate world where it is utilised in gardens and landscapes and it is tough enough to be a successful street tree. It usually grows to around 25 to 40 feet high in cultivation, although they have grown considerably taller in native rainforests.

Sweet shade's most notable assets are first, the clusters of beautiful flowers in the spring. They are initially cream-coloured maturing to yellow and, later in the season, are followed by long pear-shaped seed capsules. The flowers are magnets for bees, birds and butterflies and, best of all, are wonderfully fragrant. This tree's other great asset is the handsome, dark green and glossy foliage, 2 to 6 inches long and soft to the touch. These leaves are evergreen which makes Native frangipani a good screen from the sun or for privacy. And finally there is the form, erect in habit early on, this medium-sized tree will grow more dense and bushy with time and judicious pruning. Eventually the branches form elegant, horizontal tiers which makes a distinctive silhouette.

Sweet shade , or Native frangipani, is not only beautiful but tough and thrives across a wide range of well-drained soils. It enjoys full sun but can manage in part shade making it more adaptable to parks, campuses, and urban lawns. It’s only real drawback is its resistance to cold. The youngest trees are easily killed by frosts and must be kept in a sheltered position until established. But they can thrive in cooler regions and survive temps as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit once they have some maturity. Sweet shade will not likely be found in the large, discount nurseries but rather in the more select tree nurseries.

Sweet shade /          Native frangipani


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