Pride of Barbados

13 10 2008

Pride of Barbados or Red Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)—This fast-growing, heat-loving tropical evergreen shrub is a staple in gardens around San Antonio. When Michael and I helped my Dad redo the front beds for Mom in July, we included one of these plants in the mix.

It blooms red/orange all summer long, has mimosa-like leaves, and grows up to 10 feet tall. Perfect for a drought-tolerant garden, it needs little water once established. (The all-yellow species is called “Phoenix Bird of Paradise,” Caesalpinnia gilliesii). It needs full sun for the best blooms, infrequent deep watering, and is hardy in zones 9-11 (and a returning perennial in zone 8). In cooler climates, it can be grown as an annual.

Native to the West Indies, this beautiful ornamental plant is naturalized in Texas. Also called “Peacock Flower,” “Flame Tree,” “Mexican Bird of Paradise,” and “Flamboyan-de-jardin,” it is the national flower of Barbados. Click here for background information and here for growing and propagation information. I photographed this plant in my sister’s neighbor’s yard.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.



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