Long John is a tropical tree with large, bright green leaves and very colorful clusters of fruits. The striking leaves, flowers and fruits make this tree a fine choice as a specimen or accent tree for shade in the garden or park, and it can be grown along streets. The fruits have 3 large, bright pink or reddish sepals. Long John is a medium to large-sized tree which commonly attains a height of 50 - 70 feet, but can grow taller. It has an oblong, narrow, moderately dense crown. It develops small buttresses and has thin, multi-colored, mottled attractive exfoliating bark. Leaves are ovate to oblong, smooth or slightly rough above and hairy beneath, 6 - 12 x 1 1/2 - 5 1/2 inches. Male and female flowers on separate trees, borne in terminal clusters up to 12 inches long, blooms are tiny, white and green; female flowers after pollination elongate and turn a rosy red violet color and are showy. Fruits are hard, attractive, winged, reddish maturing to brown, 1 1/4 - 1 3/4 inches long, carried away by wind. Long john prefers deep fertile soils with organic matter and average drainage. It is harvested in the wild for its timber, the wood of general use locally.
Seeds are Stored in a Refrigerator to Maintain Viability
- Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Put the seeds on the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the seeds.
- Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade.
- When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.