Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Caesalpinia pulcherrima

(L.) Sw., Obs. Bot.166.1791

Gallito, Barbados pride, Bird of paradise flower, Flower bence

Glabrous shrub or small tree; older stems bearing sharp prickles to 1 cm long. Leaves bipinnate, with 7-9 pairs of opposite pinnae; petioles to 5 (8) cm long; rachis and pinnular rachis bearing minute, acicular, glandlike struc­ture at each node; petiolules ca 5 mm long; leaflets usually in 9-11 pairs per pinna, opposite or subopposite, oblong or obovate, rounded or emarginate at apex, obtuse to rounded at base, slightly inequilateral, ca 1.5 cm long and 7 mm wide (to 2.3 cm long and 10 mm wide). Racemes subcorymbose, terminal or subterminal; bracts caducous, subulate, to 3 mm long; pedicels 2-6 cm long; calyx tube 3-4 mm long, 5-lobed, the lobes obovate, to 1.5 cm long; petals bright orange, 5, obovate, clawed, spreading, ca 2 cm long, l reduced, ca 5 mm wide; stamens 10, ca 4 cm long, unequal, the filaments orange, villous at the base; style orange, extended about 2 cm beyond stamens. Leg­umes flat,  9-12 cm long, broader above the middle, beaked at apex, obliquely acute at both ends, pendent, elastically dehiscent; seeds about 6, ovate, ca 8 mm long, brown. Croat 4856.

Cultivated at the Laboratory Clearing. Probably flow­ers and fruits throughout the year, especially in the late dry season to the middle of the rainy season.

Pantropical in cultivation; probably native to tropical Asia. In Panama, known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone and Panama and from tropical dry forest in Los Santos and Panama.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Caesalpinia pulcherrima