Bird of paradise flower

Caesalpinia gilliesii

Common name:

Bird of paradise flower

Scientific name:

Caesalpinia gilliesii

Alternative common names:

Bird of paradise bush, desert bird of paradise, yellow bird of paradise. 

Bird of paradise flower is a deciduous shrub that grows up to 5m tall depending on rainfall. Branchlets and inflorescence covered with velvety hairs and densely covered with blackish or brownish glands. It flowers in summer. 

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    Peru, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEMBA Category 1b

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Eastern Cape, Free State, North West and Northern Cape Provinces.

    How does it spread?

    Spread via seeds.

    Why is it a problem?

    The seeds and the green seed pods of this plant are toxic, provoking severe vomiting and other abdominal symptoms. Competes with indigenous species.

    What does it look like?

    Leaves:- The leaves are bipinnate, 10–15 cm long, bearing 3-10 pairs of pinnae, each with 6-10 pairs of leaflets 5–6 mm long and 2–4 mm broad. Flowers: - The flowers are borne in racemes up to 20 cm long, each flower with five yellow petals with 10 long conspicuous red stamens. Fruit/seeds: - The pods are densely covered in short, red glandular hairs.

    Does the plant have any uses?

    Commonly cultivated as an attractive garden shrub.

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