Saturday, June 6, 2009

Caesalpinia pulcherrima - Dwarf Poinciana

If the Delonix Regia a.ka. the Royal Poinciana is the Flamboyant, then the Dwarf Poinciana is the flamboyan-de-jardin or the flamboyant of the garden. And indeed this shrub has leaves and flowers that are very similar to the gulmohar (delonix regia), though much smaller. It is commonly found in gardens in two colors - orangish red and yellow.

Here is an interesting article from the Boston Globe about the use of the dwarf poinciana by the medicine men of the Amazon.

Caesalpinia pulcherrima, as its scientific name goes, and the Delonix Regia belong to the same subfamily and tribe - Caesalpinieae. The dwarf poinciana is commonly also called the Mexican bird of paradise or the Red bird of paradise. It is native to tropical America and is the national flower of Barbados. The plant is widely used through the Amazon for its many medicinal properties.

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