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Common Name:

Yellow Bird Of Paradise

Scientific Name:

Caesalpinia gilliesii

Family Name:

Leguminosae (Fabaceae)

Description:

The Yellow Bird Of Paradise is a semi-evergreen medium shrub to small tree suitable for use in South Texas. The flowers are similar to those of Caesalpinia pulcherrima but more yellow than red and not quite as fantastic, although certainly still outstanding. Caesalpinia gilliesii offers a more cold hardy alternative to C. pulcherrima. Can be used as a herbaceous perennial in Central Texas and a container plant northward.

Plant Habit or Use:

Annual, medium shrub, large shrub, small tree, tropical

Exposure:

sun

Flower Color:

Yellow with some red, very effective in terminal panicles

Blooming Period:

Spring, summer, fall

Fruit Characteristics:

Pod, not ornamental, reportedly poisonous

Height:

4 ft to 6 ft shrub to 10 ft small tree

Width:

5 ft to 8 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Low Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

8.00
Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

8, 9, 10, 11

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Tends to require regular pruning and staking to acheive a tree form. While drought tolerant, regular irrigation increases growth rates and flowering. Requires well drained soils. Marginal shoot hardiness in USDA zone 8, more herbaceous perennial or subshrub in z.8.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.