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What is a Pride of Barbados?

Faye Cox
Faye Cox

A pride of Barbados, or Caesalpinia pulcherrima, is an interesting plant that comes from the pea family and is also known as a red bird, peacock flower and red bird of paradise. It is a beautiful red, yellow and orange flowering plant that is a favorite of butterflies, bees and birds. The plant, which is an evergreen shrub in frost-free climates a deciduous shrub in other climates, has become a favorite of gardeners in many locations. It requires very little water and can vary greatly in size but the appearance remains consistent from location to location. It is a member of the dwarf poinciana family and has some poisonous parts and seeds.

The plant typically is a gangly and spreading type shrub. Many people plant garden plants such as the pride of Barbados in well-chosen locations to be certain that they have allowed enough space for the branches to flower outward. The branches tend to be prickly and briar-like, and the leaves are more delicate and intricate like a fern.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

The flowers of a pride of Barbados become extremely vibrant and attractive in shades of red, yellow and orange. They are usually 2 to 3 inches (5.1 to 7.6 cm) across and are shaped like a bowl. The petals on the flower are not the same size, and the bloom tends to be quite unique and varied in appearance. The coloration, size of leaves and random growth of the branches gives the pride of the Barbados a very random and delightful appearance.

Depending on the location, a pride of Barbados can come back from year to year. Perennial plants are dependent upon the climate and growing conditions, so the location largely determines whether a pride of Barbados needs to be replanted each year. Either way, many people consider the effort worthwhile because they then can enjoy the bees, birds and butterflies that a pride of Barbados attracts.

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