Flamboyant Tree

People danced under and around the Flamboyant tree to celebrate their freedom and, for your information, July 1st, 2020 marks the symbolic 172th anniversary of emancipation for the entire island. St. Maarteners picked and blissfully waved the flowering leaves in the air as they danced to freedom.

Nature Foundation St. Maarten

Delonix regia is a species of flowering plant in the bean family Fabaceae, subfamily Caesalpinioideae. It is noted for its fern-like leaves and flamboyant display of flowers. Commonly called the Flamboyant tree, Flame tree, July tree or Royal Poinciana. This tree is commonly found throughout the Caribbean, however originating to Madagascar.

In many tropical parts of the world it is grown as an ornamental tree. It is also one of several trees known as “flame tree“.

Flamboyant tree

This species was previously placed in the genus Poinciana, named for Phillippe de Longvilliers de Poincy, the 17th century governor of Saint Christophe (Saint Kitts). It is a non nodulating legume.

The flowers of Delonix regia are large, with four spreading scarlet red or orange-red petals up to 8 cm long, and a fifth upright petal called the standard, which is slightly larger and spotted with yellow and white. They appear in corymbs along and at the ends of branches.

The naturally occurring variety flavida (Bengali: Radhachura) has yellow flowers. The pods are green and flaccid when young and turn dark-brown and woody. They can be up to 60 cm long and 5 cm wide.

This tree is drought and salt tolerant. Its seeds are small weighing in approximately 0.4g! Seeds can be collected, soaked in warm water for at least 24 hours, and planted in warm, moist soil in a semi-shaded, sheltered position. The seedlings grow rapidly and can reach 30 cm in a few weeks under ideal conditions. This tree provides great shade but if grown too close to your home, its roots can burst through your concrete floor/cistern, yikes!

Delonix regia is endemic to the Madagascar dry deciduous forests but has been introduced into tropical and sub-tropical regions worldwide. In the wild it is endangered, but it is widely cultivated elsewhere.