PLANTS OF KENYA
17-05-2021 di redazione
Delonix Regia, native to the forests of northern Madagascar, is one of the most beautiful flowering tree species belonging to the Fabaceae family, also known as Leguminosae. It is known by many as Flamboyant, which in French means flaming, or Flame Tree, both names derive their origins from the appearance of the flowering plant which turns bright red.
he Flame Tree, which is widespread throughout the tropical belt from Australia to the Caribbean islands, is easy to find in Kenya, too, to marvel and enchant oneself in front of this plant during flowering.
This species was previously placed in the Poinciana genus, in fact it is still called Royal Poinciana, in honour of Monsieur de Poincy first French Governor of Saint Christopher (Saint Kitts), where the national flower is the Flamboyant flower.
It is a majestic tree which can reach a height of more than fifteen metres, even if here in Kenya the trunk is always rather low, with long enlarged branches which tend to grow horizontally giving the plant its characteristic umbrella shape, covered by bipinnate leaves which resemble those of the fern, which tend to close at dusk. In the dry season, the plant may lose its leaves completely, but the fruit may remain until the next flowering. The fruit is a long pod of 40 to 60 centimetres containing several dozen dark seeds streaked on the edges, which may remind one of sunflower seeds. Occasionally the fruit is used by local people as a musical instrument, shaking the seeds inside the pod to produce a characteristic shaking sound.
The inflorescence has magnificent large flowers (5 to 10 cm) consisting of five petals, four of which are uniformly coloured deep red or orange while the central petal, which is slightly rounded, is white with yellow streaks.
The main use of the flamboyant is ornamental. It is planted in parks, gardens and avenues for its magnificent flowering and as a shade tree for livestock or to protect other tree species, as it is useful for maintaining soil moisture and reducing soil temperature.
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