Tuesday, May 27, 2008

flamboyant tree

The extravagant flowers of the Poinciana Tree, or Flamboyant, are almost unbelievable. This is a tropical tree, one that I associate very strongly with my childhood in Congo. They really don't have a scent, and yet when I was standing under the tree today, I caught a whiff of Africa in the late afternoon sun.

We are visiting our beach house in South Padre Island for the Memorial Day holiday this week. Just down the street from us, this beautiful little tree is blooming. Because it is a tropical tree, the examples you see here on South Padre Island are quite small. The trees of my childhood would get 20 feet tall at least, and a beautiful umbrella shape. The ones here are perhaps 10 feet tall.

I remember these trees lining the dirt roads, and somewhere there is a charming slide of my little sister swinging from a low branch with such a sweet smile and dusty bare feet. That image of her lives in my heart...

We had quite a few other trees on the station as well - oil palms, mangos (the best were the little ones we called "peach" mangos"), avocados, oxheart, eucalyptus, kapok, and chalmoogra. These last were planted by my father, to see how they would prosper in our climate.


Cherrye said...

That is beautiful. Wow. I *heart* SP Island. I hope you had fun!

Italy expat said...

This takes picture me right back to my African childhood too Amy. Wow that flamboyant or flame tree as we called them. they need a really tropical climate they dont grow here in Italy. Hope your holiday was great!
thanks for sharing love your blog!

AmyEmilia said...

Hey Donna you might try growing the flame tree as a bonsai... surely it doesn't freeze much where you are? I would think in a sheltered place the tree would be ok. I'm going ot try it in Houston, and we are definitely going to plant one at the SPI house.

Sheryl Smith said...

Where can this tree be purchase in the Houston area?

AmyEmilia said...

Sheryl, I really am not sure. I've never seen it for sale in Houston. There are some on-line sources you might consider:

It appears that seeds would be the easiest way to start this tree - I don't think any nursery stocks them in Houston. If I do find one I'll post here though! I'm probably just going to wait until my neighbor's tree (on the island) sets it's seeds and then try to get some germinated that way.


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