Friday, July 17, 2009

The Devil's Hand Tree

The Devil's Hand Tree (Chiranthodendron pentadactylon) is an unusual, rare one-of-a-kind beauty. The Devil's Hand Tree, also called the Mexican Hand Tree, is very hard to find and rarely seen for sale.

The Devil's Hand Tree is an evergreen species native to Guatemala and southern Mexico, where it's becoming endangered. It's fast-growing to about 40 feet tall.The oversized leaves are really cool, with fuzzy undersides and coppery veins. The bizarre flowers appear in the spring and summer. Each 5" blossom has five red stamens that branch out like fingers, with vivid yellow pollen on the "knuckles". As the blooms age, the "fingers" curl under like a clawed hand! These are truly amazing blooms.
Inside each cup-shaped blossom is a glossy, red & yellow interior. Water collects in the upward-facing blooms and birds like to sit and drink the nectar. In the wild, the tree is said to be pollinated by bats! After flowering, the Hand Tree makes fascinating 5 inch seed pods that are almost indestructible.

The Devil's Hand Tree comes from mountain cloudforests, where temperatures are moderate year-round, and nights are cool. It is said to be hardy down to about 20 degrees F., but younger plants should probably be protected from extremes in temperature. It appreciates humidity, and prefers full sun and well-draining soil. In warmer areas, some afternoon shade may be needed.


~Wendy~ said...

It really does look like a little red devil hand! I Like this!

Voodoo Child at PassionRituals said...

i am marveling over this plant! absolutely amazing. i've come back to this entry several times just to look at the photos again.

dragonfly =i= said...

This is such a beautiful plant, and a pretty posting too!

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