Saturday, August 17, 2019

Bird of Paradise Ornamental Tree

Several years ago I recognized a seedling that came up in my pasture as a summer blooming, water thrifty small tree. I potted it up and waited until I created a good spot in my garden to plant it. About a year ago I figured out where I wanted it. Even though it was a potted plant that had enough time to create a root ball in the pot, the soil was very loose and planting the little tree did not go as smoothly as it should have for a plant in a pot. It did suffer a fair amount of die back but has come out pretty well this year. It even put out blooms that I have been enjoying for most of the summer.

As I was thinking about writing a blog post about this plant, I realized I really did not know much about it other than having seen it in a few locations where its drought tolerance had been touted. I knew a common
name for the tree was Bird of Paradise. I looked for it in the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower plant database and did not find it. This concerned me because I had always guessed it was a native. Since it did come up as a seedling, when I did not see it listed as a native, I was concerned about its status. I then checked the Texas Invasives database and was relieved to see that it was not listed there. TexasSmartScape lists the plant as being good for North Texas and it listed the scientific name, Caesalpinia gilliesii, so I could do some more research on the
ornamental tree. It turns out the tree is a South American native from Argentina. Even though it has been blooming all summer, it has produced less than a handful of seed pods. Just to be on the safe side, I will be removing any pods that do form to make sure my tree does not spread itself in the local ecosystem.

It is a lovely ornamental tree with lacy, mimosa like green foliage and exotic yellow flowers with crazy, red thread like stamens. It does have very low water requirements and I am glad to have it as part of my garden.

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