Yellow-elder or ginger-thomas is native to dry areas of the southern United States,  the Antilles, Central America, and South America down to northern Argentina. It has become naturalized in Florida and in many parts of the Pacific. It was locally abundant in the dry southern shrublands but today it’s planted in gardens, parks, fences and highways. The tree reaches a height of 25 feet, with a trunk 3 or more inches in diameter, although it frequently grows as a highly branched shrub. The leaves generally have three to seven pointed leaflets with serrated margins, the largest up to 6 inches long. Flowers are up to 2 inches long and appear in groups and the ends of the branches. Fruits are up to 8 inches long and open on both sides to release many winged seeds. It flowers, sets fruit and liberates seeds throughout the year. The generic derives from the native name for the tree. The species name means erect or standing. This is the official flower of the United States Virgin Islands and the Bahamas.

The photographed tree is one of three planted behind the Piñero Building. There are other trees south of the Art Museum and Academic Senate Building.

Tecoma stans (Bignoniaceae)