Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Yellow Bird of Paradise

Yellow Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii) is a small shrub that may reach 6’-8’ tall and wide. It is a member of the legume family (related to peas and beans). It is commonly known as bird of paradise, but more specifically Yellow Bird of Paradise. The Yellow Bird of Paradise has yellow petals with bright red stamens (see photo).

Two other commonly grown related species are Red Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) that has red flowers and Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana) that has all yellow flowers. Yellow Bird of Paradise is the hardiest of these three species.

The plant has a light feathery appearance because of its leaves. Leaves are structurally bipinnate, with 3-10 pairs of pinnae, each bearing pairs of thin leaflets (photo).

These leaves are similar to those of the mimosa tree (photo).

Flowers are found on short stalks and begin blooming in late spring or early summer and then occasionally through the rest of summer. Yellow Bird of Paradise makes a striking low water ornamental plant due to its showy display of flowers (photo).

Plant it in the rockscape or xeric garden or against a wall for a splash of color.

The plant has been used medicinally for fever, sores, and coughs by people of South America. The seeds and seed pods of this plant are poisonous. Plants are hardy to USDA zone 6-7 with occasional winter damage or dieback.

Trees That Please Nursery has Yellow Bird of Paradise available in 5 gallon containers. Contact the nursery for more information and pricing.

Written By:
Stephen Sain
Staff Plant Physiologist

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