Caesalpinia pulcherrima: Peacock flower

Family: Fabaceae
Common name: Poinciana, Peacock flower, Red bird of paradise

Technically a shrub, Peacock flower plant can grow to about 3 meters, making it essentially as big as a garden tree. They resemble gulmohar trees or Delonix regia in leaves and flowers, but is ever-green and blooms throughout the year. The leaves are very pretty, bi-pinnate and fan-like with tiny leaflets.

But the most striking feature of the tree, are the flowers; a mix of pink, yellow, red, orange and white. Some flowers are even pure yellow with very prominent sepals, petals, stamen and pistils. The conical, multi-layered inflorescence has small globular buds that open into flowers from the base. They then form long slim seeds pods, about 10 cm long, which burst open to release the seeds.

Peacock flowers can bloom throughout the year, making it the perfect ornamental tree for your garden. The flowers also attract hummingbirds and butterflies. All parts of the plant, especially the seeds are toxic. But they also have many medicinal uses, in treating gastric and uterine ailments. The stem also has scattered prickles, making the tree a good candidate for tall hedges. They are hardy plants and need very little maintenance.

Propagation is through seeds.

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