A Yellow Flowering Tree: The Tabebuia: Dr. Edwin A. Menninger, The Man Who Brought It To Stuart, Florida

Updated on February 7, 2018
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Mary has lived in Florida for over 40 years, and enjoys writing about her experiences living in the Sunshine State.

The beautiful Tabebuia tree Dr. Menninger introduced to Stuart, Florida.
The beautiful Tabebuia tree Dr. Menninger introduced to Stuart, Florida. | Source

This is an article about Dr. Edwin A. Menninger who gave Stuart, Florida many tropical flowering trees, including the Tabebuia. Stuart is in South Florida. We are fortunate to have warm weather most of the year so we can grow tropical plants. We do lose some plants due to hurricanes and the occasional frost.

I guess every town has citizens who are known to be prominent for one reason or another. One of the most outstanding men who lived and worked in Stuart, Florida was Dr. Edwin A. Menninger. Dr. Menninger came to Stuart in 1923 to start a newspaper. He called it The Stuart News. It is still being published. He published the newspaper for 35 years. Dr. Menninger died in 1995 at the age of 98.

Two Of Dr. Menninger's Books On Flowering Trees

Dr. Menninger Was An Amazing Man

Dr. Menninger amazed people. Even though he was quite busy running the newspaper he found the time to study books on flowering trees. He told people that he became interested in flowering trees after viewing a travelogue of New Zealand and seeing the beautiful flowering trees in bloom in Christchurch. He began comparing those spectacular trees with those that dotted the landscape in Florida at that time: Coconut Palms, Australian Pine, Surinam cherries, and Mango trees. When our area was first created there were many Royal Poincianas that bloomed. He decided that Florida (which means flowering in Spanish), needed more blooming trees. He set out on a mission. He wanted to bring more flowering trees to our area. It was because of his study of these trees that he gained the title “Flowering Tree Man of Florida”. Later he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Florida State University.

In 1956, Dr. Menninger published his first book, What Flowering Tree Is That? He donated copies of this book to every high school in Florida. He wrote seven other books on Flowering and tropical trees that are still available. He wrote well over fifty magazine articles dealing with trees and shrubs.

Dr. Menninger Begins To Plant The Seeds

His search for flowering tree seeds started about 1935. He began contacting plantsmen in countries all over the world asking them for seeds of their flowering trees. The seeds came in by the thousands and he planted them. At one time he had 15,000 seedlings in containers in his yard! Then he had to find a way to get these trees distributed throughout Florida.

He wrote articles in The Stuart News about these trees. Garden clubs would visit Dr. Menninger's home where he would give slide show lectures on flowering trees. He distributed more than 10,000 seedlings around Florida in the hope that they would grow and contribute to the beauty of Florida. He gave away thousands of seeds to anyone who would promise they would be planted. More and more seeds came, and he enlisted the aid of the United States Plant Introduction Garden to help propagate the overflow.

They raised thousands of plants in their garden and distributed them. People would come from all over the state to get a seedling from Dr. Menninger.

Cluster of Yellow Tabebuia Blossoms

This is a blossom on the Tabebuia Tree.
This is a blossom on the Tabebuia Tree. | Source

Dr. Menninger's Favorite Tree Was The Yellow Tabebuia

His favorite among the flowering trees was the Tabebuia. These trees grow 15 to 25 feet. The flowers are 1-4 inches wide and are produced in dense clusters. They range in color from white, light pink, yellow, lavender, or red. He was most fond of the yellow color, and it’s easy to see why. This flower is spectacular when the tree is in bloom.

Dr. Menninger supplied seedlings of the Tabebuia trees where they would be planted all along our streets and neighborhoods. This tree blooms a beautiful yellow in the spring. Hurricanes and occasional frosts have destroyed many of these trees, but many remain. His dream was that our streets in Stuart, Florida would be lined on either side with these trees.

Every spring these Tabebuia trees bud and bloom in all their glory.

The Tabebuia Tree Growing In A Cow Pasture

This Tabeluia tree stands out in a cow pasture.  How did it get there?  Someone must have planted one of Dr. Menninger's seeds there.
This Tabeluia tree stands out in a cow pasture. How did it get there? Someone must have planted one of Dr. Menninger's seeds there. | Source

A Yellow Carpet From The Yellow Tabebuia Tree

When the blossoms fall from the tree, they create a yellow carpet.
When the blossoms fall from the tree, they create a yellow carpet. | Source

A Yellow Tabebuia on a Garden Tour

This lucky resident of Stuart, Florida has a yellow tabebuia in their yard
This lucky resident of Stuart, Florida has a yellow tabebuia in their yard | Source

The Yellow Tabebuia Can Be Seen In Stuart, Florida

I decided one Sunday morning recently to go out and take some photos of this beautiful tree while it is still in bloom. Soon the blooms will blow to the ground and cover the ground in a yellow carpet. Whenever I see one of these Tabebuia trees in bloom I think of Dr. Menninger. Because of one man’s interest, hard work, and love, we can still enjoy the fruit of his labor. I can only hope that our citizens will gather the seeds from this tree and keep his legacy alive.

These beautiful trees can still be seen along the streets of our town. If you want to see true beauty put here by a devoted man, Dr. Edwin A. Menninger, I would welcome you to come and visit Stuart, Florida in the spring.

A
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Stuart, FL, USA

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Questions & Answers

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      • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Hyatt 

        4 years ago from Florida

        Hi, NellRose. Yes, Dr. Menninger was one of a kind! His memory lives on in my town, especially in the spring when these trees are in full bloom. Thanks for the votes and the share. Mary

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 

        4 years ago from England

        Hi mary, what an ingenious man! the tabebuia tree is so pretty, and I can see why Dr. Edwin Menninger went out of his way to get it planted all across Florida. I love people who, by their own inventions, thoughts or just plain ideas, change the way the world looks feels and acts, wonderful! voted up and shared, nell

      • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Hyatt 

        5 years ago from Florida

        Hi Sueswan. How nice to see you! Yes, Dr. Menninger was one of a kind. I wish he were alive to see the beauty he is responsible for in our town!

        Thanks for reading, the votes and the share.

        Baby says Hi back to you, Mary

      • profile image

        Sueswan 

        5 years ago

        Hi Mary,

        What a special man Dr. Menninger was to share the seeds and bring the beautiful Tabebuia tree to Stuart Florida.

        Voted up +++ and sharing.

        Wishing you and Baby a great weekend.

      • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Hyatt 

        5 years ago from Florida

        Hi teaches12345. I'm glad this tree is found where you live. I'll bet someone there got some of Dr. Menninger's Tabebuia Tree seeds and planted them there. Before he died, I got some of his seeds, but I was not successful in any of them spouting. I've still tried from time to time when I see the seeds.

        Yes, Dr. Menninger was truly one of a kind.

        Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Mary

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 

        5 years ago

        Mary. I see these trees down here and have wondered what they are; and, now I know. Thankful for people like Menninger who truly care about people and nature.

      • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Hyatt 

        5 years ago from Florida

        Good Morning, midget38. I don't know if you can grow this beautiful Tabebuia tree in Singapore or not. It is truly a beautiful tree, and rewards us with many yellow blossoms in the springtime.

        Thanks so much for reading and sharing, too.

      • midget38 profile image

        Michelle Liew 

        5 years ago from Singapore

        I have never heard of this tree until I read this! A truly fascinating man too. Thanks for sharing, and I'll pass the knowledge on!

      • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Hyatt 

        6 years ago from Florida

        Hi, Peggy W I'm so glad you read my Hub on theTabebuia Tree. Your beautiful Hub on the Red Bud Tree reminded me so much of this tree. Yes, it is a beautiful tree when it is in bloom and it makes all of us here in Stuart remember Dr. Menninger and what a wonderful man he was.

        Thanks for reading, voting and sharing.

        My best, Mary

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        6 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Mary,

        I had never heard of this Tabebuia tree previous to reading your hub. Very interesting about how Dr. Menninger was responsible for bringing it to Florida as well as other plants. It is certainly showy in the Springtime of year! Up votes and sharing.

      • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Hyatt 

        6 years ago from Florida

        Hi, yssubramanyam, you are so nice to read and comment on my Hub about the Tabebuia Tree. It truly is a beautiful tree. I wonder what kind flowers and trees you have in your country? I looked at your profile, and I don't know where you are from. Anyway, it's nice to meet you here. Goodnight.

      • yssubramanyam profile image

        yssubramanyam 

        6 years ago from india, nellore. andhrapradesh

        Gods creation s well articulated.

      • profile image

        yssubramanyam 

        6 years ago

        gorgeous heart catching..

      • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Hyatt 

        6 years ago from Florida

        Hello, yssubramanyam. You made my day with your nice comment! You are too kind. Thanks so much for reading. Have a blessed day.

      • yssubramanyam profile image

        yssubramanyam 

        6 years ago from india, nellore. andhrapradesh

        you have shown me God in your posts..

      • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Hyatt 

        6 years ago from Florida

        Hi there, tillsonititan. Good to see you! Thanks for reading and commenting on my Hub about the Tabebuia tree. Dr. Menninger was truly an amazing man. His books are still in print after all this time. I hope his trees will live on and on because they really are beautiful. Thanks for the vote, I appreciate that. Goodnight.

      • tillsontitan profile image

        Mary Craig 

        6 years ago from New York

        This was so interesting. Not only the tree but your Dr. Edwin Menninger. What foresight to start trees growing, not just in his backyard but in a whole town. It is a lovely tree with very delicate looking flowers. Voted up and interesting as I'd never heard of the Tabebuia before!

      • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Hyatt 

        6 years ago from Florida

        Hi drbj, you are so fortunate to have seen the Tabebuia tree. This Dr. Ed was truly an amazing man. It's hard for me to believe that because of the efforts of one man, we can all enjoy the beauty of this tree.

        BTW, give me best to Mister Ed. I can't wait to see who you interview next! Bye for now.

      • drbj profile image

        drbj and sherry 

        6 years ago from south Florida

        What a lovely tribute to Dr. Edwin Menninger, mary. I have seen this beautiful tree but did not know its name. Thank you for enhancing my floral 'florida' education. Now, thanks to you, I know not only Mister Ed but Doctor Ed.

      • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Hyatt 

        6 years ago from Florida

        Hi, anndavis25, I'm glad you read and commented on my Hub about the Tabebuia tree. Yes, they are truly gorgeous! Thanks for the compliment on my Hub. Always good to see you.

      • anndavis25 profile image

        anndavis25 

        6 years ago from Clearwater, Fl.

        Gorgeous tree. I love finding out the origins of flowers and fruit trees. Interesting. Nice hub.

      • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Hyatt 

        6 years ago from Florida

        Hi there, oceansnsunsets. Hope you are well today! Oh, I wish you could see these trees. You would appreciate their beauty. I know how you love flowers! This man was "one of a kind", and through his efforts and love we can enjoy the beauty of the Tabebuia. Thanks for reading and commenting, my friend.

      • oceansnsunsets profile image

        Paula 

        6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

        Hello Mary, I can see why that was his favorite tree, how bright and beautiful it is! I have never hears of the Tabebuia tree before. Florida sure is lucky to have such weather to accommodate the different plant life it has thee. Thanks for sharing this information about Dr. Edwin Menninger and his contributions. I just love that tree. Goodnight Mary. :)

      • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Hyatt 

        6 years ago from Florida

        Hello, The Dirt Farmer. Good to see you today! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading about Dr. Menninger and the

        Tabebuia tree. Thanks for reading. See you again soon I hope.

      • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Hyatt 

        6 years ago from Florida

        Hi, Ruchira, thanks for reading my Hub on Dr. Menninger and the Tabebuia tree. They are all in full bloom now, and what a sight! Wish you could see them. Regards, Mary

      • The Dirt Farmer profile image

        Jill Spencer 

        6 years ago from United States

        A really inspiring hub, Mary! Enjoyed it.

      • Ruchira profile image

        Ruchira 

        6 years ago from United States

        So nice of you to pay your tributes to the person who went around planting seeds of this beautiful tree. I love this tree.

        Thanks MAry!

      • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Hyatt 

        6 years ago from Florida

        Hi Pamela99, yes this Tabebuia tree is perfectly beautiful now. I wish it bloomed year round. I'm glad you found my Hub interesting. See you again, soon, I hope.

      • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Hyatt 

        6 years ago from Florida

        Hi, Eddy, thanks so much for reading my Hub on the Tabebuia tree. They are so beautiful now. I'm glad you found my Hub wonderful and interesting. Love, Mary

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        6 years ago from Sunny Florida

        This is such a gorgeous tree and I appreciate your beautiful picture. I certainly didn't know the story behind the tree. Thank you for a very information and interesting hub.

      • Eiddwen profile image

        Eiddwen 

        6 years ago from Wales

        A truly wonderful and so iteresting hub.

        Thank you so much for sharing mary;anything to do with nature I love and this one without a doubt a treat.

        Eddy.

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