Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Caesalpinia pulcherrima.jpeg

Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Caesalpinia pulcherrima flowers and fruit

Botanical Name

Caesalpinia pulcherrima (Linnaeus) Swartz

Common Name(s)

  • red bird-of-paradise
  • tavachín (Spanish)

Legume Clades

Native Geographic Range

  • Southwestern North America
  • Caribbean

IUCN Status

Growth Form


Cultivation Status in AZ

Commonly cultivated


Cold-deciduous shrubs commonly to 6 1/2 ft (2 m) high. The stems are semi-woody and die back with freezing temperatures. The bark is smooth and some plants produce bristles or thorns from the stems. Leaves are bipinnate with 4--9 pairs of pinnae per leaf, each with 5--12 pairs of leaflets. Showy flowers ca. 2 1/2 in (4 cm) across are produced in inflorescences at the tips of the stems during summer. The typical form has flowers that are orange and red with red stamens that extends well beyond the corolla. There are also forms with yellow flowers and pink flowers.


Undetermined; presumably native to Mexico. Widely cultivated and sometimes naturalized in warm climates around the world.


Dyes have been produced from the roots and fruits of red-bird-of-paradise. Charred stems have been used to make ink and tannins from the seeds have been used in processing leather. The plant has also been used in folk medicine to treat various conditions.


Red-bird-of-paradise is grown for its showy flowers which attract butterflies and humminbirds. It can be planted as an informal hedge and provides a tropical appearance in the landscape. The plants should be sited in a sunny situation for best performance. In frost-free regions, the plants may flower nearly year-round. Growth rate is rapid with adequate irrigation during warm months. Stems freeze back around 25° F (-4° C). Frozen stems should be cut back to near the ground in the spring. Litter is minimal.