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Caesalpinia

Previously known as:

  • Brasilettia
  • Poinciana
  • Ticanto
Phonetic Spelling
ses-al-PIN-ee-ah
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

The genus, Caesalpinia, is a shrub or tree that is a member of the Fabaceae or legume family.  It is named in honor of the 16th-century botanist, philosopher, and physician, Andreas Caesalpini. It is native to Southeast Mexico to Peru and the Caribbean. This plant is typically found in dry tropical woodlands, wooded grasslands, coastal thickets, or bushland.

There are over 140 species of this genus. A variety of species are available in the Caribbean, Central American, South America, Madagascar, Southern Africa, and Yemen. This genus has been introduced into the United States in the states of Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas.

The shrub or tree is erect or climbing. Some species have prickles or spines on their stems and branches. It is deciduous in zone 9 and perennial in zone 8. They typically bloom in the summer months. In the tropics, it may flower year-round. The green leaves are fern-like and bipinnate with paired pinnae. The flowers form clusters on the terminal or lateral side of the stems and are a variety of colors including yellow, orange, red, or yellow petals with red stamens. Fruits appear after flowering and consist of pods. When they ripen, the pods split open and disperse small seeds. 

The species, Caesalpinia pulcherrima or 'Pride of Barbados,' is cultivated as a garden ornamental in the tropics and subtropics. The ripened seeds of this species contain tannic acids and are poisonous if ingested resulting in gastrointestinal discomfort.

This genus prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Once it matures it may tolerate some drought. During the growing season, they perform best if watered deeply but infrequently. Pruning may be required to maintain its shape. 

The shrub or tree may be used as a specimen, accent, or border in tropical or subtropical areas. The flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. 

Some shrubs may develop scale and poorly drained soil may result in mushroom root rot.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#poisonous#full sun tolerant#shrub#tree#well-drained soil#tropical feel
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#poisonous#full sun tolerant#shrub#tree#well-drained soil#tropical feel
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Caesalpinia
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The flowers of some species are used for making lei in Hawaii. In South America, indigenous tribes have used the juice of some species for treating fever, heal sores, and relieve cough. The plants have been used to make inks and dyes.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    SE. Mexico to Peru & Caribbean.
    Distribution:
    Caribbean, Mexico, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Argentina, Madagascar, Congo, Southern Africa, Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, India, Philippines, Thailand, and the United States--Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 12 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
    Appendage:
    Prickles
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Legume
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Slender pods appear after the flowers bloom. They are usually green and may transition to red and then brown. The pods contain dark brown to black seeds. The pods split open when they mature and disperse the seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The flowers bloom in late summer om the end of the stem or branch. In tropical climates, they bloom all year round. They may have yellow, red, or orange flowers. Some species have orangish-yellow flowers with long red stamens.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are feathery. They are usually evergreen, but they may be deciduous in areas near the edge of their growing range. They have bipinnately compound leaves. Each leaf has pinnae, and each pinna is divided into leaflets.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Red/Burgundy
    Bark Description:
    The bark on young shoots may have prickles. As it matures, the bark may be smoother but still retain prickles.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The stems and twigs are thin and may have sharp prickles.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Flowering Tree
    Hedge
    Small Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Children
    Problem for Dogs
    Spines/Thorns
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    If ingested, symptoms may include labored breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    The leaves contain hydrogen cyanide, and the seeds and seed pods contain tannins.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Seeds