The Butterfly Tree

A Tree Blooms at Zoo Miami: The Butterfly Tree

 
 

The Butterfly Tree

Zoo Miami is not only a haven for animals, but also a veritable paradise for some of the most beautiful and unique trees and flowers in the world. 

Take, for instance, the butterfly tree (Erblichia odorata), a non-native tree originally from Panama and Costa Rica, which is found at our zoo and easily seen as you gaze across the lake at Amazon & Beyond. The tree grows between 25’ – 30’ and produces a beautiful flower which runs from yellow to deep orange, measures between 6” – 8”, and smells deliciously like an apricot.  It is also the only flower of its kind to have bloomed in the United States!

Bob Beck, a docent with the Zoological Society of Florida for the past 22 years and self-described plant lover and “animal nut all my life,” photographed this elusive flower and his enthusiasm soars when he talks about it, although he claims every tree and plant at the zoo are his “favorite.”  He knows every tree and flower in the zoo and says there are “1,233 identified trees and plants visible from the zoo walkways.”  Additionally,  Zoo Miami has two to three species of trees blooming at any time of the year, so no matter what season visitors come to the zoo, they will be very pleasantly surprised to see so many beautiful blooms.