Plant of the Month August 2015


Desert Bird of Paradise

Caesalpinia gilliesii 


This ornamental in the legume family, desert bird of paradise
grows to be large shrub with stunning and ornate flowers. First, there are 5 petaled yellow flowers growing in a raceme, that when open burst forth with 10” long glowing red stamens, the combination of which makes for a stunning display. The flowers are further accented by the contrast of the airy, lacy blue-green foliage. The flowers gradually form woody seed pods, that once fully developed, you will often hear popping open in the late summer/fall garden.

This open and airy shrub is amazingly easy to grow, very drought tolerant and loves full sun in any soil. It can grow to 6’ x 6’ if left to its own devices, but can be easily controlled with pruning. Many people recommend that it be severely cut back each year, but ultimately that is up to each individual. Note that the seeds and pods of this shrub are toxic.

desert bird of paradiseQuick facts

  • Ornate flowers
  • Very drought tolerant
  • Easy to grow in any soil
  • Seeds/pods are toxic