Delonix regia (Royal Poinciana)

  • TropPlant Accession Number (TPAN): 0059
  • Botanical Name: Delonix regia
  • Common Name: Royal Poinciana, Flame Tree, Flamboyant
  • Cultivar: wild type and 'Horace Clay' are discussed in this post
  • Family: Fabaceae
    Delonix regia 'Horace Clay'  
    Photo by Matthew Gaston
Delonix regia 
Photo by Matthew Gaston

Delonix regia 
Photo by Matthew Gaston

Landscaping Information

    • Plant Type: Tree
    • Texture: Fine, Open
    • Form: Spreading
    • Height (on average, in landscape use): 30'-45'
    • Height to Spread Ratio: 1:1
    • Growth Rate: Medium
    • Landscape Values: Accent, Street Tree (roots are perhaps too extensive), Color,Shade, Sculptural Form, Specimen, Erosion Control
    • Outstanding Quality: Flower Color, Foliage Color, Seasonal Color, Foliage Characters

    Botanical Descriptions

    • Flowers: Cassia-type flowers, large, clustered, 10 stamens. 3"-4" long "clawed" petals, petals are broad bladed with scarlet, crimson, red, white, or (rarely) yellow color. Most of the leaves drop before flowering. Blooms from January to October, with peak blooms in May-June. 
    Delonix regia flowers
    Photo by Matthew Gaston
    Delonix regia 'Horace Clay' flowers
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Delonix regia by M. Blanco, in Flora de Filipinas., ed. 3, t. 451 (1875) 

    • Fruits: 10"-18" long, woody, brown to black, persistent. Slowly dehiscent.
    Delonix regia fruit
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    • Foliage Color: Young/immature: Yellow Green. Mature: Bright medium green to light green
    • Leaflet Tip: Rounded
    • Leaflet Base: Rounded
    • Petiole: 0.75"-1.5" long
    • Stipules: early deciduous, feathery
    Delonix regia leaf arrangement and stipules
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    • Margins: Smooth
    • Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
    • Leaflet Shape: oblong to elliptic
    • Leaf Type: Twice Pinnate, Evenly Pinnate
    • Leaf Texture: Leaves are silky and wispy. In Thai, the name means peacock's tail because of its feathery features. 
    • Leaf Special Notes: Spectacular, large, broad, silky, flowing leaves. Excellent texture and color. Leaves are 8"-15" long. 
    Delonix regia adaxial leaf surface with hand and ruler for scale.
    Photo and Hand by Matthew Gaston

    Delonix regia abaxial leaf surface
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    • Bark and Trunk: Light brown to gray trunk. smooth bark, Pronounced root flare. 
    Delonix regia trunk and base. Roots flare out from base.

    Horticultural Information

      • Light Preference: Full Sun.
      • Light Tolerances: Semi-Sun (but really needs full sun and room to grow)
      • Soil Preferences: Slighty acidic, Dry (Mesic), Dry (Xeric), Well-Drained 
      • Tolerances: Drought
      • Water Requirements: Flowers most spectacularly in dry conditions. Needs water, but does best in dry, well drained conditions.
      • Notes on Maintenance: Drops most of its leaves before flowering, roots are extensive and push up sidewalks and roads, large woody fruits. These features contribute to rubbish and render it an unideal street tree. Thrives in dry, sunny, leeward, low elevation areas. Must have well drained soil. 
      • Propagation:  Seed, Grafting
      • Minimum USDA Hardiness Zone: 10a-11a
      • Weed Risk Assessment Score (WRA): -1, Low Risk

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