Caesalpinia gilliesii (Hook.) D.Dietr.
Caesalpinia macrantha Delile
Poinciana gilliesii Wall. ex Hook.
Common Name: Bird Of Paradise
Caesalpinia gilliesii is semi-evergreen shrub or small tree with slender, erect branches; it can grow 8 metres or more tall, but is usually smaller in cultivation. The plant is evergreen in warm climates, becoming deciduous in cool seasons[
The seed has been reported to have anti-cancer activity. The plant is often cultivated for its very ornamental, showy flowers[
The green seed pods are severely irritating to the digestive tract[
The seeds and the green seed pods are toxic, provoking severe vomiting and other abdominal symptoms[
Southern South America - Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru.
Escaped from cultivation where it grows wild in pastures and dry habitats in Texas[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Caesalpinia gilliesii is found mainly in the warm temperate to subtropical zone of S. America, though it is also found at higher elevations in more tropical situations. The plant is able to tolerate short-lived temperatures down to around -15°c, though it loses its leaves in cold weather[
]. This species is on the borderline of hardiness in Britain. It can tolerate occasional lows down to about -12°c, so long as it is not too wet. It is best grown against a warm, sheltered sunny wall[
]. The plant succeeds against a warm wall at Kew Gardens, where it has grown to a height of 8 metres, it also succeeds in more open conditions on the Isle of Wight[
Requires a sunny position[
], succeeding in any moderately fertile well-drained soil[
] including limy soils[
The plant has escaped from cultivation and become naturalised in some areas, especially in semi-arid regions of Mexico and southern N. America[
The wood of this plant is very brittle.
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
The flower stamens are used as a yellow colouring to adulterate saffron (Crocus sativus)[
The seeds are reported to have antitumour activity[
Seed - pre-soak for 12 - 24 hours in warm water and sow in a greenhouse in early spring[
]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Softwood cuttings in sand in a frame[