Family: FABACEAE, Sub Family: CAESALPINIACEAE.
Common Name: Poinciana, Flame Tree, Flamboyant.
Etymology: (Delos) – Conspicuous, (onox) – referring to claw-like petals.
Origin: Dry deciduous forests of Western Madagascar (endangered species in natural habitat but widely cultivated).
Description: Tree, almost evergreen (sheds leaves but replaces them almost immediately) growing from 5-10m tall and 15-20m wide. Low, wide spreading branches.
Foliage: Compound, alternate, bipinnate 30-70cm long. 12 to 20 pairs of opposite pinnae.
Bark/Trunk: Relatively smooth, pale brown or grayish coloured bark.
Flowers: Large terminal raceme covering crown of tree. 5 broad petals forming a rotate flower orange through to scarlet with one whitish yellow petal.
Fruit: Pendulous legume to 45cm long.
Growth Requirements: Sub-tropical to Tropical climate. Will tolerate salty and dry conditions and requires free draining sandy to loamy soil rich in organic matter. Will not tolerate heavy clay soil well.
Uses: Shady park or street tree.
Propagation: By seed soaked in warm water for 24 hours and planted in warm, moist soil in sheltered position. Seed can also be nicked to allow water penetration and planted immediately. Semi hardwood cuttings of current or last years growth. This method is slower but ensures tree is true to form.
Sources of information:
- own horticultural notes.
- photography by Simon Schubert.