Tabebuia rosea is a deciduous tree with a rounded or spreading crown; it can grow up to 30 metres tall. The straight bole, which is often buttressed, can be up to 1 metre in diameter.
This is one of the most important timber trees of Central America, being widely harvested from the wild and used for a great variety of purposes. When in flower, it has few equals among Central American trees for beauty. It blossoms when leafless and is then like a huge bouquet of flowers, which can vary in shade from deep rose-purple to pure white (rarely).
This species is distributed from southern México, to Venezuela and Ecuador. It has been found growing from sealevel to 1,200 m (3,937 ft), in temperatures ranging from 20 °C to 30 °C on average, with annual rainfall above 500 mm, and on soils with very variable pH.
This tree is often seen in Neotropical cities, where it is often planted in parks and gardens. In the rainy season it offers shade and, in the dry season, abundant flowers are present on the defoliated trees.
The tree crown is wide, with irregular, stratified ramification and only few thick branches. The bark can be gray to brown, in varying darkness and may be vertically fissured. Leaves are compound, digitate and deciduous. Each leaf has five leaflets of variable size, the middle one being the largest. Flowering occurs mainly in January and February, and is generally associated with dry periods; although flowering has also been observed in August, September, April and May. Flowers are large, in various tones of pink to purple, and appear while the tree has none, or very few, leaves. Pollination occurs probably by insects, although the flowers are visited by many birds such as tanagers, hummingbirds and orioles. The long and slender fruit capsules can measure up to 35 cm (14 in) and appear from February through April. After the drying fruit dehisces, the anemochorous, hyaline-membrane-winged seeds are released. There are an average of 45,000 seeds per kg with up to 13% water content. Germination of seeds is extremely easy and efficient, reaching almost 100%. It is a fairly fast growing tree.