Sunday, May 24, 2009

Orange & Purple - Royally Flamboyant

Few trees are as showy as the Royal Poinciana. Although not native to the U.S., the Poinciana is a beautiful shade tree that was introduced to Florida and elsewhere decades ago. It's a nice enough tree through out the year, but as the rainy season kicks into full gear, the Poinciana - also known as the "Flamboyant Tree", bursts with showy orange blossoms and gives color to a dessicated and bland "winter" landscape here in south Florida.
Cruising around the island of Everglades City, this particular tree was unanimously voted the most beautiful Poinciana around by everyone on our boat. To top it off, the local residents were active and showy themselves. Purple Martins ducked in and out of their condo and gourd-shaped homes.
The largest member of the Swallow family, the Purple Martins spend the winter in South America before returning to North America for the breeding season. Scouts arrive in January to south Florida and conclude nesting around this time of the year before heading home.

White apparently is the most attractive color to paint a Purple Martin house. I would assume they don't mind Orange either.


  1. I thought the tree was called Ponceana, after Ponce de Leon.. but its Poinciana... I guess its easier to read names, to learn them. Miss you!!

  2. Wow! I never got south at the right time to see these -- gorgeous.
    And I thought the jacaranda tree of my apt. in Sarasota was spectacular.

    Pete, do these trees get pollinated? By whom?