Thursday is when Cosmos and Cleome asks us to highlight a plant that is at its peak, or a view that is special today.
Last week I chose Acca sellowiana (Fejoa) and today I’ve chosen another plant that comes from South America, this is a quite odd as I don’t have many plants from that region of the world.
Caesalpinia gilliesii or crimson threadflower is commonly known as the “bird of paradise tree” but it is no relation to Strelitzia.
It’s range is NW Argentina and Uruguay. It is a large evergreen shrub or small tree, with 2-pinnate leaves composed of tiny oblong leaflets, and showy yellow flowers 3cm across, with long crimson stamens. It is a slow growing shrub or small tree with an ultimate height of 2.5 to 5 metres; mine is just over 2 metres high and was given to me as a small sapling found under the tree of a friend.
Apart from the amazing flowers, it is not a very attractive tree and the lower branches often die back in a hot summer or cold winter; I also think it might prefer a moister soil than I am able to provide for it.
But for a few weeks it has these amazing flowers with bright crimson stamens that are disproportionately long, providing the tree with its common name.
Caesalpinia gilliesii doesn’t pass my foliage test as the pinnate leaves are rather uninteresting and often look a bit crisp by mid-summer. I enjoy the tree purely because it is something that would have been impossible for me to grow in my English garden so it has an exotic novelty value.
What is the feature in your garden today, I’m sure Kimberly would love you to join her.