Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Backyard Nature Wednesday: "Pride of Barbados"

"Pride of Barbados" blooming in my back garden this week.

Caesalpinia pulcherrima is its proper name, but it is better known by many more common monikers. Among these are Dwarf Flamboyan, Dwarf Poinciana, Mexican Bird of Paradise, Barbados Flowerfence, and Peacock Flower, but in this area it is best known as Pride of Barbados.

It is possible that it did indeed originate in Barbados, but it is so widely naturalized in tropical and subtropical areas of the Americas that it is virtually impossible to be completely sure. What is certain is that it is a showy heat-loving plant that is a staple in the gardens of Southeast Texas.

In my area, it is a returning perennial shrub that dies back to the roots in winter and comes back in spring. It can grow 5-8 feet in a season and sports its incredible orange-red to yellow flower clusters throughout the summer and into the fall. It is easy to grow in a variety of soils, from alkaline to acidic, as long as it is well drained. It is said to be short-lived, though I've had mine for several years and it shows no signs of slowing down. It readily reseeds and presently I have a couple of "volunteers" going that I need to transplant.

One more thing about this showy member of the pea family: Butterflies love it! In fact, that is one of the main reasons that I planted it originally. If you live in zone 8 or zone 9 and don't have Pride of Barbados in your garden, you are missing out. Give it a try. I think you'll become a fan.

  
Pride of Barbados - ready for its close-up.

6 comments:

  1. Pretty flowers, first time I see them.

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    1. They are quite striking in appearance and their colors scream "Summer!"

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  2. How beautiful. I had no idea they were a member of the pea family.

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    1. It is a large and varied family with many unexpected members.

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  3. So bright! These make me think of fireworks. What kind of sunlight/shade does yours get?

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    1. Full sun. Even the hot Southeast Texas sun does not faze it.

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