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Botany Photo of the Day
In science, beauty. In beauty, science. Daily.

Delonix regia

Delonix regia
Delonix_regiaflower

S.Q. Mehdi posted today's Botany Photos of the Day on the UBC Botanical Garden Flickr pool earlier this month, and Stephen Coughlin composed the write-up. Thank you to S.Q. for a fine set of images. (Original photos: Full Tree; Flower)

Delonex regia, commonly known as royal poinciana or flamboyant tree, is a fast-growing (up to 1.5 metres per year), threatened native of Madagascar. Its epithets suggest something of the plant's appeal to both the eye and the imagination. In early summer, the tree erupts into a spectacular conflagration of red, and a closer look reveals that each of the tightly clustered flowers has five gently crinkled petals, four of which are nearly uniform in shape, size and rich red hue, while the fifth (the 'standard'), spotted and orange-yellow, rises elegantly to a few centimeters above its peers. Feathery, compound bipinnate leaves underlie the inflorescence. The trunk, which can sometimes reach 50 metres in height, bears smooth, light-brown bark. Due to the strength and complexity of its surface root system, the species is commonly considered invasive, and due to its popularity and abundance in the Caribbean, the tree is often thought to be a native of the region.

Though vulnerable in the wild, flamboyant tree is today naturalized in many tropical areas. It is hardy in zones 9 through 11 and cultivated in several different types of soil. Delonex regia is generally grown as an ornamental, though its seeds are sometimes used practically in percussive instruments like the maraca.

19 Comments

Yet another example of why this site starts my day
each and every morning.

what a truly sensual experience this site is.the photos are stunning and the ecopoetic language stephen coughlin uses helps us not only to know the history of the plants and flowers, but also to sensually experience and embody them. for those of us who live in large cities, this is a wonderful gift.

Seeing this photo brought a smile as I recalled childhood wars (throwing poinciana seed pods--OW!) and climbing banyan trees.

Great photo. The Flamboyant Tree (as it is known in Trinidad & Tobago) also comes in a rarer YELLOW variety. A famous example grows at Ft King George in Scarborough, Tobago.

Check this link for an example of the Yellow variety http://www.birdsoftt.com/scenes%20info/flora.htm

Also look at an amazing photo of the greatly beloved SAMANEA SAMAN, on this web page, which is growing on the grounds of the University of the West Indies in St Augustine, Trinidad. (A University that was created from the "Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture" started by the British during the Colonial Era, in the 1800's)

oh i just love this tree it is a joy

i live in florida and in the early days
this tree lined the river and in yards
it was just a riot of color

the freezes came then houses people
road ways now the trees are not as plentiful
behind walls and gates no doubt

when the red and the purple and the gold
are in bloom tis a feast for ones eyes

I am so pleased to see this beautiful and peaceful image from Pakistan. Unfortunately, all the news in the U.S. is geared toward strife, and Pakistan is almost always mentioned in that context. Thank you for sending a lovely corrective.

Are the floral parts arranged in fours? It seems so - the interior symmetry of the four petals against four - are they sepals, one of which is the 'standard'? is just so beautiful to see.

Thanks!

Outstandingly beautiful, one of my favorite tree growing up in the West Indies. Thanks for the
botanical insights and wonderful photography !!

What a lovely flowering tree. I agree with Holly, this is a peaceful image coming from Pakistan.

Thank you for the post.

I've seen photos of the tree many times, but never one of the blossoms - they are stunningly beautiful and intricate. Thank you for adding the single bloom - and Stephen, you are a joy to read.

Kathleen, in the Botany Photo of the Day posting of June 5, 2009 (Senna species), I briefly described the floral structure of these pea relatives. There are five petals and behind them, five sepals, of which three are clearly visible in the photo. Both genera are in the subfamily Caesalpinioideae. Coincidentally, the Wikipedia entry for that subfamily has a very nice picture of Delonix regia. I'm afraid I don't know how to include hypertext links in text here. Sorry

Wow. The name "flamboyant tree" sums it up right there.

Could you get Spathodea campanulata (African Tulip
Tree) and Delonix regia growing together?
Does it ever happen?
What a sight that would be if they were both flowering!

Thank you for a wonderful post!

It so beaitiful,i quikly sent it to my husband as a love picture massage. i wish i can get the seed in Nigeria here to plant in my yard.
please keep sending me such pics, i love and appreciated it thanks a million.

It so beaitiful,i quikly sent it to my husband as a love picture massage. i wish i can get the seed in Nigeria here to plant in my yard.
please keep sending me such pics, i love and appreciated it thanks a million.

I work in a cement industry as an Environment officer, i wish i also get the seed to plant round the factory to serve as wind breaks and dust emission control, any help from your side i will appreciate so much thanks.

These are magnificent pictures of one of the most beautiful trees I've ever seen.
My family and I go to Cozumel Mexico every November and the main street along the water's edge downtown is completely lined with these beauties and it is an amazing sight.

I've had seeds of this tree for over 20 years, finally soaked one, planted it and is was up in just a few days. I'm so excited to find out what is is! Sue

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