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Delonix regia

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Synonyms: Poinciana regia
Common Name: Flame-of-the-forest, Semarak Api, Merak, Flamboyan, Fleur-de-paradis, Red Flame, Phoenix tree, Royal Poinciana, Flame Tree, Poinciana, Flamboyant Tree, Gul Mohur, Semarkat Api, Sepanggil, 凤凰花, 凤凰木, 红花楹, 火树, 火焰木, 孔雀树
Full Sun Moderate Water Ornamental Flowers Tree

Name

Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Synonyms
Common Names
Comments

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Medium (16m-30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Umbrella
Maximum Height 9 m to 20 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 12 m to 18 m

Biogeography

Native Distribution Madagascar
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Monsoon Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Exotic (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is deciduous in climates with a dry season, shedding its leaves at the end of the wet season. In Singapore and other places without pronounced seasonality, the time of leaf-shedding varies among individuals.
Crown Small tree (9 – 15 m tall) with an umbrella-shaped crown.
Trunk Bark grey and smooth. Short trunk having buttress roots. Branches weak and prone to breakage by wind.
Foliage Bipinnately compound leaves have alternate leaf arrangement (20 - 60 cm long). Each leaf has 9 - 25 pairs of pinnae; each pinnae consists of 14 - 30 pairs of leaflets. Leaflets are small and oblong (8 - 10 mm long, 3 - 4 mm wide).
Flowers Flowers bright red and orange (10 – 13 cm in diameter). Each flower has 5 similar-sized petals. One of these is a white or light pink standard petal that has red streaks. Petals are round near the apex and narrow to a thin strip near the base. It tends to shed half its leaves before blooming. Flowers bloom abundantly, sometimes covering the crown in red flowers. They have a subtle fragrance.
Fruits Pods that are initially green and flexible become reddish brown or black, woody and gently curved (30 - 75 cm long, 5 – 8 cm wide) at maturity. Pods each contain 20 – 45 hard, oblong, somewhat flattened seeds (2 cm in length). They split open to release the seeds at maturity.
Habitat Occurs at altitudes of 0 - 1,000 m and rainfall of 750 - 3,000 mm. It is often found in dry, tropical savannas
Cultivation Tolerant of a variety of soils that range from acidic to alkaline and loamy to rocky, but it prefers soils with good drainage. Prune severely to keep it compact; lightly prune the tree to promote a fuller crown. Grows quickly in fertile soil (1.5 m per year) until it reaches maturity; poor soil will slow its growth. Water seedlings thoroughly until they become established, and then, only during severe droughts afterwards. The tree flowers more abundantly in drier soils compared to moist soils. Reduce watering to a minimum when the plant is in dormancy. Requires little nutrients, because it receives nutrients from nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Flowering may begin after 5 - 10 years of growth. Protect plants from termites.
Etymology The genus name “Delonix” originates from the Greek words “delos” which means visible or conspicuous and “onux” which means claw. The petals of Delonix regia have a claw-like shape at the base. The species epithet “regia” comes from the Latin word “regis” which means royal or magnificent. The common name of “Royal Poinciana” comes from naming the plant after M. de Poinci, a governor of the French West Indies in the 18th century.
Ethnobotanical Uses Cultural / Religious ( Heritage Tree :                         There is currently one individual of Delonix regia listed as a Heritage Tree in Singapore. It can be found in Fort Canning Park. To find out more about this tree, please visit the Heritage Tree Register. )

Landscaping Features

Landscaping Often used in parks, gardens and roadsides due to its bright red flowers. Make an excellent shade or focal point tree. It is salt tolerant and may be planted near the coast, but not directly on an open beach. Tolerant of the often poor growing conditions of urban landscapes (eg., soil compaction, pollution, drought and poor drainage). The small and numerous leaflets produce a fine leaf texture that appears delicate and lacy. However, the plants sheds numerous twigs, leaves and large woody pods. Shed twigs, leaves and pods may have allelochemicals that inhibit the growth of neighboring plants.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Focal Plant

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, [Remarks] (Delonix regia is light sensitive and trees that grow beside street lamps remain evergreen and do not bloom, or may produce flowers on the side away from the light. )
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast to Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting (Tip, Softwood), Marcotting
Propagule Establishment Remarks Propagate from seed or tip cuttings. Increase the seed germination rate by submerging the seeds in boiling water for 10 seconds and then soaking them for 24 hours in cold or lukewarm water. Seeds may be stored for several months if placed in a cool, dry environment.

Foliar

Foliage Retention Deciduous, Drought / Semi-Deciduous
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Compound (Bipinnate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 2.5 (Tree - Open Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Bark Colour(s) Grey
Mature Bark Texture Smooth
Root Type Underground (Tap Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Red
Flower Texture(s) Waxy
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
First-Blooming Flower Bud in Inflorescence Distal (Determinate Blooming)
Flowering Period Hot & Dry Period, A Few Times Yearly
Flowering Habit Polycarpic
Flowering Calendar Mar, Apr, May

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Black
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Legume / Pod
Mature Seed Colour(s) Black
Plant Sexuality (non-Angiosperm) Monoecious

Image Repository

Images

Others

Master ID 1545
Species ID 2838
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 15 February 2022.
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