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Plant profile

Plant: Royal Poinciana, called Flamboyant on Caribbean islands and related to dwarf poincianas, is known botanically as Delonix regia.Origin: Madagascar native.

Characteristics: Flamboyant scarlet or sometimes orange flower clusters cover a domed canopy of fern-like leaves up to 40 feet high and 50 feet wide. Flowers may appear from April to July, followed by dark brown, flat woody seed pods to two feet long. Considered by many to be the world's most colorful tree, it is tolerant of many well-drained soils.

Growing tips: Recommended for South Florida, it needs good protection from cold in Central Florida. Best in full sun where frost seldom occurs. Fair salt tolerance. If planted on the street side of waterfront homes and sheltered from cold north or west winds it may survive many years and may return from roots if frozen to the ground during severe, sudden cold.

Shown: Royal Poinciana blooming in all its glory during May, after producing a few first flowers last year. It was planted as a small tree 8 to 10 years ago by Beatrice White of St. Petersburg Beach.

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