Delonix regia (Hook.) Raf., Fl. Tell. 2: 92 (1837)

Species name meaning 'royal', perhaps because of its general appearance?

Delonix regia var. flavida Stehle
Delonix regia var. genuina Stehle
Poinciana regia Hook.
Poinciana regia Bojer

Small shrub-tree. Stipules present, 4- or 5-lobed. Leaves bipinnate and large (up to 60 cm long), with many small, opposite leaflets. Inflorescences up to 15 cm long and with 5-10 large, bright red flowers, each flower having one white-yellow-red petal between four bright red petals, petals spoon shaped. Pods elongate, up to 80 cm long, flat, and splitting into two parts when ripe, exposing the seeds.

Tree, unarmed, deciduous, up to 10(-15 or more) m high, buttressed. Stipules pinnately 4- or 5-lobed. Leaves: bipinnate, main rachis 50-60 cm long; pinnae 9-20(-25) pairs, rachises up to 10 cm long. Leaflets 10-25(-40) opposite pairs per pinna, subsessile or sessile, elliptic or oblong, 5-10(-15) by 2-5 mm; rounded but mucronate at apex, slightly oblique at base; finely puberulous or glabrcscent. Inflorescences axillary, racemose, up to 15 cm long, glabrous, 5-10-flowered; pedicels 5-8 cm. Hypanthium shortly campanulate. Sepals 5, oblong, 4-7 by 2-2.5 mm, acuminate, reddish on inner side. Petals 5, unequal, total length 3-7 cm long, the blade orbicular (3-4 cm wide) and narrowed into a claw (up to 3 cm long), one yellowish white and scarlet, the others scarlet. Stamens 10, equal in length; filaments up to 4 cm. red with white base; anthers oblong, c. 4 mm long. Ovary green, slightly velutinous; style glabrous, 2.5 cm; stigma indistinct. Pods oblong, flat, slightly curved, 30-70(-80) by 3.5-5(-7) cm, blackish, beaked, dehiscing into 2 woody or leathery valves. Seeds many, narrowly oblong-elliptic, compressed, up to 2.5 by 0.8 cm. [from Flora Malesiana]

Dry deciduous forests. In areas with a marked dry season, it sheds its leaves during the drought, but in other areas it is virtually evergreen. It requires a tropical or near-tropical climate, but can tolerate drought and salty conditions. It prefers an open, free-draining sandy or loamy soil enriched with organic matter. The tree does not like heavy or clay soils and flowers more profusely when kept slightly dry.

Native to Madagascar (where it has become rare due to forest overexploitation), but currently cultivated pan-tropical as an ornamental.

In addition to its ornamental value, it is also a useful shade tree in tropical conditions, because it usually grows to a modest height but spreads widely, and its dense foliage provides full shade. The inner portion of the seed is eaten in Thailand. The bark is believed to be antipyretic, used in subsiding fever symptoms.

Local names
Bengali: Krishnachura, Krusnachuda.
English: Flamboyant, Flame tree, Royal Poinciana.
India: Gulmohar.
Vietnam: Malinche, Phuong vi, Tabachine.