Caesalpinia pulcherrima


Family: Belongs to the Caesalpiniaceae family, which includes Flamboyant (Delonix regia) and Orchid Tree (Bauhinia variegata).

Description: Showy, very attractive, erect shrub or small tree, up to 4 m tall (13 ft), with prickly branches, flowering all year; leaves bipinnately compound, about 30 cm or more long (12 in), with opposite, oblong leaflets, about 10 pairs, each 1.5-2.5 cm long (0.6-1 in); flowers, in raceme clusters at branch ends, usually red, 4-6 cm across (1.5-2.5 in); red petals have bright yellow fringe in young flowers; stamens and pistil, extending well beyond petals, are twice as long as petals; fruit a flat pod, 8-12 cm long (3-5 in); yellow and pink varieties not uncommon.

Natural Habitat: Thrives at lower elevations in tropics; is sun loving and drought tolerant, blooming best in full sun on well drained soils; propagated by seed.

Origin and Distribution: Of uncertain origin, but probably native of West Indies, India or tropical Asia; now cultivated throughout tropics and much of sub-tropics.

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