Caesalpinia pulcherrima Red, Pride of Barbados, 10 fresh seeds

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Common names: Barbados Pride, Dwarf poinciana, Mexican bird of paradise, Peacock flower
Previously known as: Caesalpinia pulcherrima f. flava, Caesalpinia pulcherrima var. insignis, Poinciana pulcherrima

The Pride of Barbados is an evergreen shrub or small tree that is a member of the Fabaceae or legume family. It is originally from Mexico and the Caribbean and has beautiful showy orange-red, pink, red or yellow flowers, fern-like leaves, and prickles on its stems and branches. It is the national flower of Barbados. The genus, Caesalpinia, is named in honor of the 16th-century botanist, philosopher, and physician, Andreas Caesalpini. The species name, pulcher, is Latin and means beauty.

The Pride of Barbados is a deciduous shrub in zone 9 and perennial in zone 8. In the tropics, it may grow 15-20 feet (4.5m) tall and equally as wide. The flowers are clusters of orange-red blossoms with long red stamens. They blossom most of the year in the tropics. In climates where frost occurs, the flowers appear late summer and fall. After flowering, the fruits appear which are pod-like. When they ripen, the pods split open and disperse the small seeds. The seeds contain tannic acid that is poisonous and can result in gastrointestinal discomfort if ingested. Exercise caution if using this specimen in areas frequented by children or pets.

Hot humid weather and full sun ensure flowering. It is intolerant of poorly drained soils. Once it matures it tolerates some drought. During the growing season, they perform best if watered deeply but infrequently. Pruning may be needed to maintain its shape. It may be best to avoid planting this shrub near patios or walkways due to its prickly stems and branches. Used as a specimen, accent, or border, it would add beautiful color in a sunny, hot, and humid area. The flowers also attract hummingbirds and butterflies. They are considered deer resistant.

In terms of pests and diseases, the shrub may develop scale and may be susceptible to mushroom root rot in poorly drained soil.


Germination method
Fresh Caesalpinia seeds germinate readily. 
Soak the seeds in water for 24-48 hour. The seeds that imbibed water become about 1.5 times bigger in size. Prepare clean food container with the lid. Put the paper tissue in it and spray with water or just pour water over it and let excessive water to drain. Put the seed that grew in size on wet paper covering with another piece of paper and close the lid. Keep at about +25°C, seeds will germinate in 24-48 hours.
Leave the seeds that didn't imbibe water there for longer, otherwise germination might be delayed. Change water every day.
Other recommended methods to penetrate the hard seed coat is mechanic scarification (sand paper, nail clip), or hot water (these methods were not performed in my tests as soaking was just enough). I suggest using warm water +40°C as higher temperatures mighth cause embryo death, but definitely do not go over 70°C, only few species will remain viable after such treatment.
If you tried other methods and found them efficient please leave a comment below.
Germinated seeds may be transplanted into individual pots 10-15 cm diameter. Caesalpinia can be grown from seeds any time of the year, but the optimal temperature (22-30°C) should be maintained for healthy development.


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