Delonix regia (Bojer ex Hook.) Raf.

First published in Fl. Tellur. 2: 92 (1837)
This species is accepted
The native range of this species is N. & W. Madagascar. It is a Phanerophyte and grows primarly in the Seasonally Dry Tropical biome(s). It is used as animal food, a poison, a medicine and invertebrate food, has environmental uses and for fuel and food.

Descriptions

Caesalpiniaceae, Hutchinson and Dalziel. Flora of West Tropical Africa 1:2. 1958

Note
Commonly planted ornamental, known in West Africa as “Flame of the Forest“or “Flamboyant “, now subspontaneous in many localities
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Posterior petal variegated red and white, other petals red with orange claw.
[FWTA]

International Legume Database and Information Service

Conservation
Vulnerable
Ecology
Africa: Cultivated; Indian Ocean: West Malagasy forest.
Morphology General Habit
Perennial, Not climbing, Tree
Vernacular
Alamboronala, Fannou, Flamboyan, Flamboyant, Flamboyant Tree, Flamboyante, Flame Of The Forest, Flame Tree, Flanbwayan, Framboyan, Gulmohar, Hintsakinsa, Hitsakitsana, Kitsakitsabe, Mal-mara, Mayaram, Mille Fleurs, Ohai, Pine, Poinciana, Poo-vahai, Royal
[ILDIS]

Distribution
Biogeografic region: Amazonia, Andean, Caribbean, Orinoquia, Pacific. Elevation range: 0–1540 m a.s.l. Cultivated in Colombia. Naturalised in Colombia. Colombian departments: Amazonas, Antioquia, Atlántico, Bolívar, Casanare, Córdoba, Cundinamarca, Meta, San Andrés y Providencia, Tolima, Valle del Cauca.
Habit
Tree.
Conservation
IUCN Red List Assessment (2021): LC.
Ecology
Habitat according IUCN Habitats Classification: forest and woodland, savanna, shrubland, native grassland, wetlands (inland), artificial - terrestrial.
[UPFC]

M. Thulin et al. Flora of Somalia, Vol. 1-4 [updated 2008] https://plants.jstor.org/collection/FLOS

Morphology General Habit
A spreading tree with numerous small leaflets and racemes of showy scarlet or rarely orange-red flowers and large pods.
Distribution
Cultivated in N3, S1, S2 and no doubt elsewhere; native of Madagascar
Vernacular
Flamboyant, flame tree (English)
[FSOM]

Bernal, R., G. Galeano, A. Rodríguez, H. Sarmiento y M. Gutiérrez. 2017. Nombres Comunes de las Plantas de Colombia. http://www.biovirtual.unal.edu.co/nombrescomunes/

Vernacular
abeto, acacia, acacia de Girardot, acacia roja, acacio, acacio extranjero, acacio ordinario, acacio rojo, árbol de fuego, calamayó, calambayó, clavelino, clavellino, flamboyán, flor de ángel, flor de fuego, flor de pavo, florito, gallino, jalamayó, josefino, matarratón
[UNAL]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description
Although widely cultivated in the tropics since the 19th century, the native habitat of flamboyant was unknown to science until the 1930s, when it was rediscovered growing in the wild in Madagascar.

Delonix regia is a distinctive tree with large, bright red flowers. The genus name is derived from the Greek words delos (meaning conspicuous), and onyx, meaning claw, referring to the appearance of the spectacular flowers. The tree is commonly cultivated in the tropics and subtropics, including Madagascar, for its ornamental value, but is under increasing threat in its natural habitat due to habitat destruction.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Restricted to the western dry forests of Madagascar, where it grows in the north and west of the Bemaraha massif, as well as in the dry forest around Antsiranana as far south as Daraina, and possibly also on Nosy Be. Delonix regia is however, also commonly cultivated throughout Madagascar and in many other tropical countries. It has become naturalised in some places, such as parts of southern Florida in the United States, and is invasive in parts of Australia, where it competes with native vegetation.

Description

Overview: A tree growing up to 30 m tall. Its trunk is tall and unbranched, sometimes with narrow, spreading buttresses extending from near the base. The bark is pale grey.

Leaves: The leaves are large with 10-25 pairs of pinnae, each with 30-60 opposite leaflets.

Flowers: The large, bright red flowers are about 10 cm in diameter, the upper petal with a large white to creamy-yellow blotch, flecked with red. The stamens (male parts) are dark red and the style (female part) is yellow.

Fruits: The pods are very long (40-70 cm), strap-shaped and flattened, containing up to 50 seeds each.

Little is known of the breeding system of Delonix regia . However, some self-incompatibility has been recorded. The species is thought to be pollinated by sunbirds.

A specimen cultivated in Martinique, with golden-yellow, unspotted flowers, was described by Henri Stehlé (1909-1983) as Delonix regia var. flavida . This variant is unknown in the wild and should be recognised only as a cultivar - D. regia 'Flavida'.

Threats and conservation

Although flamboyant is reasonably widespread in Madagascar, the habitat in which it grows is severely fragmented and seriously threatened by slash-and-burn agriculture, charcoal production, grazing by domestic cattle and goats, and uncontrolled bush fires.

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership has collected seeds of Delonix regia and is storing them ex situ in the Kew seed bank in the UK, as well as in Madagascar.

Uses

Delonix regia is widely planted in the tropics and subtropics as an ornamental tree in streets and parks. It is fast-growing and develops an umbrella-shaped crown, making it a valuable shade tree. The wood is of little value, although it is durable and resistant to water, and has been used for making fence posts.

The seeds of D. regia are sometimes used as beads, and there has been some research on the use of the gum obtained from the dried seeds as a binder in the manufacture of tablets, such as paracetamol.

Delonix regia is often depicted on postage stamps of countries around the world which have tropical or subtropical climates, from the small island of Anguilla (one of the British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean) to one of the largest countries, China.

Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life world wide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

Search Kew's Seed Information Database for information on Delonix regia seeds

Cultivation

Delonix regia requires well-drained soils in full sun, and is well-suited to maritime conditions in the tropics and subtropics. However, its roots are wide-spreading and can damage paving, land drains, and the foundations of nearby buildings. The tree has brittle branches which are shed readily. Underplanting with other species is difficult because of the spreading root system. Care needs to be taken in choosing the right site for planting, well away from hard landscape features so as to avoid damage.

Delonix regia is suitable for glasshouse or conservatory cultivation in temperate regions. It has been grown at Kew in the past, and was planted in free-draining compost and kept in a warm zone with a minimum temperature of 13°C and bright light. It requires plenty of water when in full growth, but watering should be reduced in the winter.

This species at Kew

Dried and spirit-preserved specimens of Delonix regia are held in Kew's Herbarium, where they are available to researchers by appointment. The details of some of these specimens can be seen online in Kew's Herbarium Catalogue.

A bracelet, which includes seeds of Delonix regia is held in Kew's Economic Botany Collection.

Distribution
Madagascar
Ecology
Malagasy dry forest.
Conservation
Least Concern (LC) according to IUCN Red List criteria.
Hazards

Roots can damage nearby building foundations, paving and drains; the branches of the tree are brittle and can fall without warning.

[KSP]

Leguminosae, R.K. Brummitt, A.C. Chikuni, J.M. Lock and R.M. Polhill. Flora Zambesiaca 3:2. 2007

Morphology General Habit
Tree 3–15(18) m high.
Morphology Stem
Young stems subglabrous to thinly spreading-pubescent.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves: petiole and rachis together (11)14–35 cm long; pinnae 9–18(23) pairs; pinna rachis (4)6–12(15) cm long; leaflets 10–32 pairs per pinna, 4–11(17) × 2–4(5) mm, oblong, obtuse to rounded at the apex, asymmetrical at the base, finely appressed-pubescent on both surfaces or rarely subglabrous; stipules pinnately compound, the rachis up to 1.4 cm long, with 2–6 pairs of pinnae, each oblong or oblanceolate up to 9 × 3 mm.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Racemes with the axis up to 12 cm excluding the peduncle, subglabrous to sparsely pubescent, each with (3)6–14 flowers; bracts up to 9 × 5 mm, ovate or elliptic, acute at the apex, usually falling shortly before anthesis; pedicels 3.5–9(10.5) cm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Hypanthium
Hypanthium 2–8 mm long, the narrow basal part gradually expanded above into a shallowly concave disc but the upper part not campanulate, the whole glabrous or sparsely pubescent.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals 1.8–3 cm long, lanceolate to oblong, glabrous to very sparsely pubescent.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals (3.5)4.2–6.5(7.4) cm long, the lower 4 subequal but the upper one slightly longer than the others with the claw broader and less clearly defined, all scarlet red or sometimes (especially the upper one and the claws of the others) orange or ± yellow, the distal margins undulate.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamen filaments (2.4)3.5–4.5(5) cm long, shorter than the petals.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Ovary
Ovary ± sessile, appressed-pubescent with longish but usually sparse hairs.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Pods (20)30–70 × 3.6–5.8 cm, strongly woody at maturity, with seeds sunk in regular transverse cavities in the woody endocarp; seeds up to 50 or more, c.2.0 × 0.6 × 0.4 cm, linear-ellipsoid, not compressed, light brown mottled with darker brown.
[FZ]

Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá. http://catalogoplantasdecolombia.unal.edu.co

Distribution
Cultivada en Colombia; Alt. 0 - 1540 m.; Amazonia, Andes, Islas Caribeñas, Llanura del Caribe, Orinoquia, Pacífico, Valle del Cauca, Valle del Magdalena.
Morphology General Habit
Árbol
[CPLC]

Uses

Use
Environmental, Food and Drink, Miscellaneous
[ILDIS]

Use Animal Food
Used as animal food.
Use Environmental
Environmental uses.
Use Fuel
Used for fuels.
Use Food
Used for food.
Use Invertebrate Food
Used as invertebrate food.
Use Materials
Used as material.
Use Medicines
Medical uses.
Use Poisons
Poisons.
[UPFC]

Use
An ornamental tree
[FSOM]

Use
Ornamental.
[KSP]

Common Names

English
Flamboyant

Sources

  • Art and Illustrations in Digifolia

    • Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew
  • Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Colombian resources for Plants made Accessible

    • ColPlantA 2021. Published on the Internet at http://colplanta.org
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
  • Flora Zambesiaca

    • Flora Zambesiaca
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Flora of Somalia

    • Flora of Somalia
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Flora of West Tropical Africa

    • Flora of West Tropical Africa
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

  • International Legume Database and Information Service

    • International Legume Database and Information Service (ILDIS) V10.39 Nov 2011
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Kew Living Collection Database

    • Common Names from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Living Collection https://www.kew.org/
  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2022. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/about-wcvp
    • © Copyright 2022 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Kew Science Photographs

    • Copyright applied to individual images
  • Kew Species Profiles

    • Kew Species Profiles
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Legumes of the World Online

    • Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
  • Universidad Nacional de Colombia

    • ColPlantA database
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Useful Plants and Fungi of Colombia

    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • World Checklist of Vascular plants (WCVP)

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2022. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/about-wcvp
    • © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0