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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Royal Poinciana Blooms

Our neighborhood is alive in flaming red color. The trees lining Ludlam are in full bloom and it is time to celebrate the 77th Royal Poinciana Tree Fiesta (next week). Called the Delonix Regia in Latin, Poinciana in Miami, and the Flamboyant or Flame tree in Haiti, these trees harken me back to my childhood. We would play underneath the giants, gathering up the long woody pods and using them as rattles or peeling them open and gathering the seeds for currency.
The red flowers have four orange-red petals with a fifth slightly larger, upright and spotted with yellow or white, perfect for adorning childhood crowns or floating on the surface of a water offering. The leaves are feathery and fern like. I painted this watercolor last Sunday at the Fairchild Gardens.

I understand it is a tree that tolerates salty and drought like conditions, and benefits us by fixing nitrogen in the soil. There is so much to love about this tree. I am thrilled to be able to enjoy living among them. The glorious shade along Miami's avenues provided by the reach of the Poinciana trees must be attracting a cool breeze while at the same time visually heating up the landscape! I wish I could paint what I see in my car- but that would be dangerous while driving.
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