1. Family: Fabaceae Lindl.
    1. Genus: Delonix Raf.
      1. Delonix decaryi (R.Vig.) Capuron

        A member of the pea and bean family (Leguminosae), Delonix decaryi is a white-flowered tree which grows in the threatened, dry spiny forest habitat of Madagascar.


    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description

    Delonix decaryi, a white-flowered tree with a cigar-shaped trunk, is found in the dry spiny forest of Madagascar, and sometimes planted as a living fence. It is a member of the pea and bean family (Leguminosae).

    Species Profile
    Geography and distribution

    Found only in the dry spiny forest of south and south-western Madagascar, where it is confined almost entirely to the coastal forest margins.


    Overview: A tree measuring 3-10 m tall, with a swollen cigar-shaped trunk with flaking bark.

    Leaves:  The leaves are bipinnate (having leaflets which are themselves divided into leaflets).

    Flowers:  The flowers are large (7-8 cm), with white petals; the upper petal having a large yellow blotch. The stamens (male parts) and style (female part) are pink or red.

    Fruits:  The pods are long and slender and measure about 35 x 3.5 cm.

    Delonix decaryi is thought to be moth-pollinated. Its white petals open at night and have red, protruding stamens, and the upper petal bears a narrowly tubular, nectar-secreting claw. 

    Threats and conservation

    Delonix decaryi is rated as Near Threatened because its native habitat is severely threatened by slash-and-burn agriculture, charcoal production, grazing by domestic cattle and goats, and uncontrolled bush fires.

    Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank Partnership has collected seeds of D. decaryi and is storing them ex situ in the Kew seed bank in the UK, as well as in Madagascar.


    Cuttings of the branches are often planted in villages or around tombs, to form a ‘living fence’. Occasionally the trunks are used to make canoes or coffins. The resin is used as a glue and the unripe seeds are reported to be edible.

    This species at Kew

    Dried and spirit-preserved specimens of Delonix decaryi are held in Kew's Herbarium, where they are available to researchers by appointment. The details, including an image, of some of these specimens can be seen online in Kew's Herbarium Catalogue.

    Malagasy spiny forest.
    Near Threatened (NT) according to IUCN Red List criteria.

    None known.

    Construction, shade-tree, living fence.



    Found In:


    Common Names


    Delonix decaryi (R.Vig.) Capuron appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Identified Reference Herbarium Specimen Type Status
    Jan 1, 1991 Decary, R. [3439], Madagascar K000232327 isotype
    Dupuy, D.J. [M 448], Madagascar 63588.000

    First published in Adansonia, n.s., 8: 16 (1968)

    Accepted in:

    • [2] Du Puy, D.J., Labat, N.-N., Rabevohitra, R., Villiers, J.-F., Bosser, J. & Moat, J. (2002) The Leguminosae of Madagascar . Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    • [3] Govaerts, R. (2000) World Checklist of Seed Plants Database in ACCESS D: 1-30141


    • [1] Du Puy, D. J., Labat, J-N., Rabevohitra, R., Villiers, J-F., Bosser, J. & Moat, J. (2002). The Leguminosae of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • [4] Du Puy, D. J., Phillipson, P. & Rabevohitra, R. (1995). The genus Delonix (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae: Caesalpinieae) in Madagascar. Kew Bulletin 50: 445-475.


    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (2017). Published on the internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp
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    Kew Species Profiles
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