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Products > Chiranthodendron pentadactylon
Chiranthodendron pentadactylon - Monkey's Hand Tree
Image of Chiranthodendron pentadactylon
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Malvaceae (w/Bombacaceae & Sterculeacea)
Origin: Guatemala (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [Cheirostemon platanoides]
Height: 40-60 feet
Width: 20-30 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20° F
Chiranthodendron pentadactylon (Monkey's Hand Tree) - A fast growing evergreen tree from Guatemala and southern Mexico that can grow to 50+ feet tall with large drooping shallow-lobed leaves have fuzzy brown wool-like hairs on the underside. In late spring into early summer (May-June) appear the very unusual flowers, looking like a red claw with the five 2 inch long red exerted stamens appearing as fingers protruding from the maroon cup of sepals; hence the common names of Monkey's Hand Tree and Devil's Hand Tree - in southern Mexico and Guatemala these plants are called "árbol de la manita", which means "the little hand tree" or alternatively "árbol de las manitas" meaning the "tree of little hands". These flowers are followed by 5 inch long brown fuzzy, woody, deeply-fluted fruits that split into 5 lobes when dry. This tree is cold hardy down to around 20 degrees F - one of the largest specimens in the Santa Barbara area is located near our nursery and it weathered the short duration temperatures down to 18°F in December 1990 without damage. It is an attractive upright tree for a large garden with unusual flowers that are sure to attract attention. The abundant sweet nectar that forms at the bottom of the flower is even a tasty treat. It is found growing in Guatemala and southern Mexico where it reaches its maximum size (to 90 feet) on moist slopes. The tree was revered by the Aztecs who called it Macpalxochiquahuitl and used in religious ceremonies. It is said to have been grown by Montezuma in Tenochtitlan's botanic garden when Cortez arrived. The name Chiranthodendron comes from the combination of the Greek words 'kheir' meaning "hand", 'anthos' meaning "flower" and 'dendron' meaning 'tree" in reference to the hand shaped flowers on this tree. The specific epithet pentadactylon translates from Greek as "5-fingered". We have grown this interesting tree since 1988 from seed collected off the a tree growing in a Santa Barbara County Park called Lassen Open Space. In 2015 this tree was included on the California Big Tree Registry as the Largest Chiranthodendron in California

This information about Chiranthodendron pentadactylon displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.