Plant Library: Our gardening columnist, Nick Leech, explores the world of resilient flora all around us.
A practical guide to garden plants in the UAE
Dwarf poinciana, peacock flower, red bird of paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)
A feature of parks and public landscapes, Caesalpinia pulcherrima produces clusters of eye-catching scarlet flowers, yellow margins and spectacular scarlet stamens that are attractive to birds, moths and insects. Sometimes grown as a low, clipped hedge where regular pruning encourages repeated flowering, it can also be grown as a large specimen shrub or as part of a mixed border display where it can become large and unruly unless it receives regular attention. Widely available, it can also be raised quickly and easily from soaked and scarified seed or cuttings. Moderately tolerant of drought and salt, it benefits from deep and regular watering, particularly in summer, and should be positioned in full sun away from paths where its thorns may be a nuisance. Warning: seeds and plant are both toxic if ingested.