Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Botanical Name : Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Caesalpinia
Species: C. pulcherrima
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonym : Poinciana pulcherrima, Poinciana bijuga.

Common Names :Poinciana, Peacock Flower, Red Bird of Paradise, Mexican Bird of Paradise, Dwarf Poinciana, Pride of Barbados, and flamboyan-de-jardin. Pride of Barbados, dwarf poinciana, red bird of paradise, krere – krere, Barbados flower – fence, pearock flower, tabachin, tabaquin.

Common names for this species in other languages include:-

Bengali: Radhachura and maybe also Krishnachura   (though this usually refers to Delonix regia)
Hindi: Guletura
Filipino: Caballer:
Spanish: Flamboyan
 Kannada: Kenjige
Konkani: Ratnagandhi Phoolor “meshae phool”
Malayalam: Settimandaram or Rajamalli
Manipuri: Krishnachura
Marathi: Sankasur
Oriya: Krushnachuda
Sanskrit: Sidhakya
 Tamil: Mayirkonrai; Nazhal
Telugu: Ratnagandhi

Sranantongo: Krere-krere
Vietnamese: Kim ph??ng
Sinhalese: Monara pila

Habitat :Caesalpinia pulcherrima is native to West Indies; common throughout Sonoran deserts, naturalized in Texas. It is the national flower of the Caribbean island of Barbados, and is depicted on the Queen’s personal Barbadian flag.

Description:
Pride of Barbados is a small evergreen perennial shrub or tree, from the West Indies, 10 – 15 feet high with alternate, bipinnate leaves. The stem and branches are armed with spines. The red, orange, yellow and pink flowers grow at the end of the prickly branches.
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This small, graceful tree flowers throughout the year and is a beautiful garden plant.
Pride of Barbados has beautiful bowl – shaped flowers in the colors red, orange, orange – red and yellow.
The yellow variety is often called yellow bird of paradise.
The fruits are legumes, 3 – 4″ long; when ripe they split open and release the brown bean.
The variety of pride of Barbados with red flowers is also called red bird of paradise, while the yellow species is called phoenix bird of paradise.
Closely related is the Yellow bird of paradise (Caesalpinnia gilliesii) which has yellow flowers with long red stamens.

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The leaves are bipinnate, 20–40 cm long, bearing 3-10 pairs of pinnae, each with 6-10 pairs of leaflets 15–25 mm long and 10–15 mm broad. The flowers are borne in racemes up to 20 cm long, each flower with five yellow, orange or red petals. The fruit is a pod 6–12 cm long.
Leaves: bipinnately compound, fern-like, many 3/4in leaflets; normally bright green turning red in winter, sometimes leafless in winter
Flowers: distinctive panicle of bright blooms; flowers are red, orange and yellow with long red stamens; on terminal ends of branches in summer
Fruit: hard brownish pod, 2.5in long, thin and flat, twists when drying, explosively dehiscent, poisonous
USDA zone : 8 – 11.

Propagation :  Seeds and cuttings (For details about germination, go to ISHS).

Medicinal Uses:
Medicine men in the Amazon Rainforest have long known some of the medicinal uses for Caesalpinia pulcherrima, which is known as ayoowiri. Four grams from the root is also said to induce abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Traditionally the seed has been used as a liver tonic.  In Latin America: for ‘irritacion”, an infantile disease characterized by fever, swollen belly, cold hands and feet, perspiration, and diarrhea—squeeze a large double handful of leaves in 1 gallon of hot water and allow to soak in sun all day; bathe infant with this warm sun tea for 3 nights and give ¼ cup to drink after each bath.

For both children and adults suffering from “tristesa”—sadness and grief—bathe in this mixture.  A methyl alchohol extract of the dried bark of Bird of Paradise flower was shown to have in vitro activity against Staphylococcus aureus and a water extract of the fresh leaves was shown to have strong in vitro antifungal activity against Ustilago maydis and Ustilago nuda, both plant pathogens.  A methanol extract of dried root bark was shown to have in vitro activity against Staphylococcus aueus and Escherichia coli.  An ethanol-chloroform extract of fresh seed pods was shown to have tumor promoting effect (94% enhancement of sarcoma HS1 tumor) in mice.

Other Uses:
OrnamentalC. pulcherrima is the most widely cultivated species in the genus Caesalpinia. It is a striking ornamental plant, widely grown in domestic and public gardens and has a beautiful inflorescence in yellow, red and orange. Its small size and the fact that it tolerates pruning well allows it to be planted in groups to form a hedgerow; it can be also used to attract hummingbirds

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesalpinia_pulcherrima
http://www.tropilab.com/caesal-pul.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

http://ag.arizona.edu/pima/gardening/aridplants/Caesalpinia_pulcherrima.html

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