Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Author: (Linaeus) Swartz

Morphological description (pulcherrima Caesalp compl FT15)
Shrub or small tree, up to 5 m tall, glabrous; branchlets unarmed or with a few straight prickles. Stipules subulate, c. 2 mm long, caducous.

Leaves: bipinnate; rachis 20–40 cm; pinnae 5–9 pairs, often with a small subulate stipel (c. 0.5 mm long) between the pair. Leaflets opposite, 6–12 pairs per pinna, petiolulate (1–2 mm), oblong or elliptic-oblong, 9–30 (–35) by 5–15(–23) mm; base unequal, rounded; apex rounded to retuse (pulcherrima Caes compl 428816).

Inflorescences axillary and terminal, racemose, sometimes paniculate, 20–50 cm long, rachis glabrous, rarely with a few straight prickles; bracts c. 5 by 0.5 mm; pedicels 70–100 mm, not articulated (pulcherrima Caes infl 428817).

Flowers: Hypanthium c. 2 mm deep and 4 mm wide. Sepals 10–15 by 5–7 mm, ciliate. Petals yellow or flame-red, or red with a yellow margin, 10–25 by 6–8 mm, clawed (claw up to 15 mm long). Stamens very far exserted; filaments 55–75 mm; anthers 1.5–2.5 mm long, glabrous. Pistil about as long as the stamens; ovary 15–20 mm long, 8–12-ovuled; style 50–65 mm; stigma ciliate (pulcherrima Caesalp fl 139518 ).

Pods (pedicels 70–100 mm), 6–9 (–11) by 1.5–2 cm, dehiscent, septate, more or less woody, often widest at the rounded top, beaked, 8–10-seeded (pulcherrima Caesalp ypod 256047).

Seeds slightly rectangular, 8–10 by 6–8 mm, black, dull (pulcherrima Caesalp seed 256046 ).

Originating in tropical America; widely distributed in the tropics of the world.

Cultivated as an ornamental throughout Malesia, naturalized in some regions. See Heyne (1950: 752), and Burkill (1935: 393).