Saturday, December 12, 2009

Delonix regia - the Poinciana Tree

One of the most spectacular flowering trees seen in the tropics.   It requires full sun and lots of space for its wide spreading branches.  You know summer is here when the first fiery red-orange flowers begin to appear.

This large tree naturally assumes a spreading umbrella shape - sometimes it's branches can reach the ground.  It can grow as tall as 60 feet / 18 metres and has smooth greyish-coloured bark and attractive feathery, fern-like leaves, which drop annually during our dry season ( March to September).

At the same time as the new leaves appear towards the end of spring ( November), the tree is covered with masses of five-petalled bright red-orange flowers.
Blooming is followed by long, flattened, leathery dark brown or black seed pods.
It flowers best in areas that have two distinct seasons - a 'wet' and a 'dry'.   Here's a close up of the beautiful poinciana flower - it has a distinctive white petal amongst the orange-red ones.

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