Q: A few weeks ago on your radio show you had a guest from Callaway Gardens who spoke about a plant that is ideal for a lake or wet area. She called it a fever tree, but I did not get the botanical name. Our home backs up to a small lake. I am very interested in this plant that “looks like a pink poinsettia.”
A: Fever tree (Pinckneya pubens) has small yellow flowers surrounded by rose-colored sepals (petals) so it does indeed resemble a poinsettia. The blooms usually emerge in late May or early June. The bark was once used by settlers to make medicine. Fever tree usually has multiple trunks, growing to fifteen feet tall with a similar width. It is usually found along swamp margins or in areas that flood periodically. It has few remarkable attributes during most of the year but is a real conversation piece in early June. Your pond location sounds ideal if you can find the tree to purchase. Contact the Georgia Native Plant Society (www.gnps.org) for a list of native plant nurseries.
Fever Tree hort.ifas.ufl.edu/trees/PINPUBA.pdf
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