NO… this is not about cauliflower !  Cauliflory is an evolutionary adaptation in which flowers and fruit develop directly from the trunks and woody branches of plants.

Thank you Produce Made Simple !

Cauliflory means “ stem flower”.  It occurs in a distinct vertical zone below the forest canopy.  Its found throughout  the world.  It is most prevalent in the tropical rain forest.

Thank you Google sites !

There are many different animal species that visit these flowers.  Because of this it is difficult to generalize about any particular group that specializes in cauliflory.  Marsupial and placental animals that climb on trunks are a large group.  Perching birds, fruit bats, and small crawling or flying insects are also included.

Some examples of cauliflory plants you may know are:


Calabash Tree – Thank you 123RF !                       Fig – Thank you Botanical Guild of S Ca.


Papaya –                                      Chocolate – actually Cacao                 Cacao flower

Thank you Na. Parks Board    Thank you U Colorado Boulder         Thank you 123RF


Redbud –   Cercis                          Soursop (guanabana) –  flower    Soursop fruit

Thank you Houston Chronicle   Thanks Gardening Know How     Thanks Top Growables


There are also many super exotic ones you probably never heard of.  A brilliant red-flowered Brownea macrophylla, a bottlebrush called Calothamnus validus, and the striking red-flowered Woodfordia fruticosa.  Halleria lucida (related to snapdragons !) is a pretty yellow!  Davidson’s plum (Davidsonia pruriens), a tree from the rain forests of Australia , makes acid plum-like fruits.  These are edible and make excellent jams and jellies.

Google the subject ! You will be fascinated for sure !

For us here in New York City only redbuds would survive.  But they are spectacular and come in several shades of red and even a white ! Twelve different varieties –  who knew !!!


Ask any one of our Plant Specialists Designers for help in finding you one !    Or all Twelve ! – my favorite – Pink Pom Poms – check it out !



Article written by our Staff Horticulturist Peter B Morris, BSc, MSc, MBA