Pride of Barbados
The National Flower of Barbados is the Pride of Barbados (Dwarf Poinciana or Flower Fence).
Poinciana pulcherrima LINNAEUS
Syn. Caesalpinia pulcherrima
HABITAT: Blooms most of the year. Common varieties are fiery red and yellow although other color variations exist. It is a shrub and is often pruned into a hedge. Untrimmed it grows to a height of 10 to 15 feet. Prefers full sun and well-drained soil. The fertility level is not important. Prefers zone 8 or warmer. It is used as an annual in colder climates. The parent plant, Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia), is not nearly as hardy.
FAMILY: It is a member of the Legume family and can be found in tropical countries.
FLOWER: Five petals with a yellow margin in a pyramidal inflorescence. Each flower is about 1½ inches across with five sepals. The ten stamens are long and the pistils project from the centre of the flower. The fifth petal is far smaller than the other four. The stamens have colored filaments with anthers at the tips, the eleventh filament bears a stigma and is the style.
FOLIAGE: The branches are prickly and the leaves are large and doubly compound about one foot long and six inches wide with many small leaflets. Leaves are similar to mimosa leaves.
USE: landscape, plant in full sun in an area that it will be protected from severe freezing weather. Excellent plant for attracting butterflies.
INSIGHT: It has been reported that the leaves of C. pulcherrima (Pride of Barbados)have been used as a fish poison in Central America and the seeds have been used to poison criminals
The National Flower of Barbados is accepted as the red variety with the Yellow Margin on the petals. It appears on the Coat of Arms. References to this flower were recorded as early as 1657.
CULTURE: Pride of Barbados is relatively easy to grow but will freeze in cold climates. It needs normal bed preparation and moderate water and fertilizer.
PROBLEMS: Other than freeze damage I have seen almost no problems with this plant.