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Royal Poinciana Orange Red Flowering Trees - Gulmohar - Peacock Trees - Flamboyant Trees

Updated on May 30, 2016

The orange red flowering trees called the Royal Poinciana trees are also commonly known as the red flame trees, peacock trees, Gulmohar or the flamboyant trees and they are widely found in the tropical regions around the world. These are popular flowering trees for gardens in many tropical and subtropical countries.

Colorful, bright and beautiful gardens are possible if we choose the right plants and trees for our garden. Those who like bright colored flowers in their garden will definitely love the beauty of the flame trees, which produce pretty red colored blooms. Make sure you have a fairly big garden if you want to grow these trees.

The second picture on the below shows a Royal Poinciana tree with bright red blooms. In the background you can see yellow colored flowers of Cassia fistula or the golden flower trees. The first image shows a close up image of the colorful and beautiful orange reddish flowers.

The word flame tree can actually be used to mention a few number of species that produce beautiful, bright red flowers but here we will focus the flame tree known as the royal Poinciana trees. The Royal Poinciana trees are also commonly known as the red flame trees, peacock trees, Gulmohar or the flamboyant trees and they are widely found in the tropical regions around the world.

The scientific name of the Royal Poinciana is Delonix regia. The tree produces bright red colored flowers which are also known as peacock flowers, and when they are in full bloom the trees are usually seen covered with flowers with very few or no leaves. Although the flowers are called as peacock flowers, delonix regia trees are different from the flowering shrubs Caesalpinia pulcherrima. Gulmohar is the Indian name of these trees, which literally stands for a combination of the words 'flower' and 'peacock'.

In South India these flowers are also commonly known as 'rajamalli', which means the king of flowers.

Close up of the flowers
Close up of the flowers | Source

The Royal Poinciana trees usually have bright orange red flowers, but there is a rare variety that produce yellow flowers. In both the cases, the trees usually reach a height of about 30 to 40 feet. These are evergreen trees which can tolerate very warm conditions. In extreme hot climates or in situations of droughts, the trees may shed leaves, but they usually grow back once the temperature becomes less intense. The petals of the bright red flowers can be as long as 8 cm and the seeds are contained in seed capsules, which can be as long as 60 cm. Once the seeds are dried and matured, they turn dark brown in colour.

The propagation of the Royal Poinciana trees occur naturally through the seeds of the tree. Apparently, the stem cuttings from the trees are also used to propagate the tree.

Royal Poinciana cannot tolerate frost and so it is not a good choice to plant them in places with very cold climates. You can plant them in the U S Department of Agriculture Zones 10 to 12. If you are using seeds to plant the trees, it is a good idea to soak the seeds in water for few hours since the seeds have a much harder outing coating. Plant the seeds in well drained, moist soil and once the seeds germinate they usually grow faster. Water them frequently till the roots are established in the soil. Once the roots are grown and established, watering is needed only occasionally.

The plants need full exposure to sun for optimum growth and flowering.

The Royal Poinciana trees usually produce lots of colourful red flowers from spring to summer season, but in some places they can bloom all year round. Due to the bright red colour of flowers, they are sometimes called as flame trees. There are five petals in a single flower in which four of them look alike in bright red colour and the fifth one is quite a large petal which has white and yellow colours in it along with the red colour.

The trees have lacy green leaves as seen in the picture. The leaves form in pairs of pinnae with about 20 to 40 pairs of pinnae in each leaf, and the leaf can be even 50 cm long.

Royal Poinciana tree leaves
Royal Poinciana tree leaves | Source

The roots and branches of these trees are wide spreading, so they are really good shading trees but not a good choice to be planted close to buildings and other structures.

The below image from 1975 shows Royal Poinciana trees on both sides of a road in Zimbabwe, probably planted for their beauty and for providing comfortable natural shading.


Have you ever seen the Royal Poinciana Trees?

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    • JanTUB profile image

      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 

      2 years ago from Australia

      When we lived in Brisbane Australia, these trees were everywhere as street trees and feature trees in parks. In front of our church in the centre of the circular drive was an amazing specimen, just low enough to see the canopy from the road. Spectacular!

    • VioletteRose profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you Pegcole17! That is wonderful that you had these in your yard, they should have looked really pretty. I haven't tried the royal poinciana seeds for games, but I can now see how useful they will be. I have actually used some other similar type of seeds for playing games when I was small.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      3 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      These are such lovely trees with vibrant blooms. We grew up climbing the one in our yard and its bark was smooth and skin-like. We collected the seed pods and used them for a variety of games, turning the hard seeds into bean bags. How I miss these beautiful trees from the tropics.

    • VioletteRose profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Chicago

      Hi all, thank you so much for reading and commenting :) I am glad you all like them. They are all over here, and so pretty with the colourful and bright flowers.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love learning about new plants by reading your hubs. Thank you for the introduction to these beautiful trees.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      We have these trees in the Caribbean, and yes they are as bright and beautiful as you say. There was one on my school playground which shaded us at recess time. Thanks for the focus.

    • poetryman6969 profile image


      3 years ago

      Lovely. Nature ablaze. I see why they call it the flame tree. It's interesting that you can see these colors in spring and summer since I am mostly used to seeing trees look like they are on fire in the fall.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      How beautiful! It's been a long time, but I have seen these beautiful trees. Lovely hub that brings back childhood memories.


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