1. Family: Fabaceae Lindl.
    1. Genus: Delonix Raf.
      1. Delonix regia (Bojer ex Hook.) Raf.

        Delonix regia is a distinctive tree with large, bright red flowers. The genus name is derived from the Greek words delos (meaning conspicuous), and onyx, meaning claw, referring to the appearance of the spectacular flowers. The tree is commonly cultivated in the tropics and subtropics, including Madagascar, for its ornamental value, but is under increasing threat in its natural habitat due to habitat destruction.


    Caesalpiniaceae, Hutchinson and Dalziel. Flora of West Tropical Africa 1:2. 1958

    Commonly planted ornamental, known in West Africa as “Flame of the Forest“or “Flamboyant “, now subspontaneous in many localities
    Posterior petal variegated red and white, other petals red with orange claw.

    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description
    Although widely cultivated in the tropics since the 19th century, the native habitat of flamboyant was unknown to science until the 1930s, when it was rediscovered growing in the wild in Madagascar.

    Delonix regia is a distinctive tree with large, bright red flowers. The genus name is derived from the Greek words delos (meaning conspicuous), and onyx, meaning claw, referring to the appearance of the spectacular flowers. The tree is commonly cultivated in the tropics and subtropics, including Madagascar, for its ornamental value, but is under increasing threat in its natural habitat due to habitat destruction.

    Species Profile
    Geography and distribution

    Restricted to the western dry forests of Madagascar, where it grows in the north and west of the Bemaraha massif, as well as in the dry forest around Antsiranana as far south as Daraina, and possibly also on Nosy Be. Delonix regia is however, also commonly cultivated throughout Madagascar and in many other tropical countries. It has become naturalised in some places, such as parts of southern Florida in the United States, and is invasive in parts of Australia, where it competes with native vegetation.


    Overview: A tree growing up to 30 m tall. Its trunk is tall and unbranched, sometimes with narrow, spreading buttresses extending from near the base. The bark is pale grey.

    Leaves: The leaves are large with 10-25 pairs of pinnae, each with 30-60 opposite leaflets.

    Flowers: The large, bright red flowers are about 10 cm in diameter, the upper petal with a large white to creamy-yellow blotch, flecked with red. The stamens (male parts) are dark red and the style (female part) is yellow.

    Fruits: The pods are very long (40-70 cm), strap-shaped and flattened, containing up to 50 seeds each.

    Little is known of the breeding system of Delonix regia . However, some self-incompatibility has been recorded. The species is thought to be pollinated by sunbirds.

    A specimen cultivated in Martinique, with golden-yellow, unspotted flowers, was described by Henri Stehlé (1909-1983) as Delonix regia var. flavida . This variant is unknown in the wild and should be recognised only as a cultivar - D. regia 'Flavida'.

    Threats and conservation

    Although flamboyant is reasonably widespread in Madagascar, the habitat in which it grows is severely fragmented and seriously 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 Delonix regia and is storing them ex situ in the Kew seed bank in the UK, as well as in Madagascar.


    Delonix regia is widely planted in the tropics and subtropics as an ornamental tree in streets and parks. It is fast-growing and develops an umbrella-shaped crown, making it a valuable shade tree. The wood is of little value, although it is durable and resistant to water, and has been used for making fence posts.

    The seeds of D. regia are sometimes used as beads, and there has been some research on the use of the gum obtained from the dried seeds as a binder in the manufacture of tablets, such as paracetamol.

    Delonix regia is often depicted on postage stamps of countries around the world which have tropical or subtropical climates, from the small island of Anguilla (one of the British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean) to one of the largest countries, China.

    Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

    Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life world wide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

    Search Kew's Seed Information Database for information on Delonix regia seeds


    Delonix regia requires well-drained soils in full sun, and is well-suited to maritime conditions in the tropics and subtropics. However, its roots are wide-spreading and can damage paving, land drains, and the foundations of nearby buildings. The tree has brittle branches which are shed readily. Underplanting with other species is difficult because of the spreading root system. Care needs to be taken in choosing the right site for planting, well away from hard landscape features so as to avoid damage.

    Delonix regia is suitable for glasshouse or conservatory cultivation in temperate regions. It has been grown at Kew in the past, and was planted in free-draining compost and kept in a warm zone with a minimum temperature of 13°C and bright light. It requires plenty of water when in full growth, but watering should be reduced in the winter.

    This species at Kew

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

    A bracelet, which includes seeds of Delonix regia is held in Kew's Economic Botany Collection.

    Malagasy dry forest.
    Least Concern (LC) according to IUCN Red List criteria.

    Roots can damage nearby building foundations, paving and drains; the branches of the tree are brittle and can fall without warning.


    Leguminosae, R.K. Brummitt, A.C. Chikuni, J.M. Lock and R.M. Polhill. Flora Zambesiaca 3:2. 2007

    Tree 3–15(18) m high.
    Young stems subglabrous to thinly spreading-pubescent.
    Leaves: petiole and rachis together (11)14–35 cm long; pinnae 9–18(23) pairs; pinna rachis (4)6–12(15) cm long; leaflets 10–32 pairs per pinna, 4–11(17) × 2–4(5) mm, oblong, obtuse to rounded at the apex, asymmetrical at the base, finely appressed-pubescent on both surfaces or rarely subglabrous; stipules pinnately compound, the rachis up to 1.4 cm long, with 2–6 pairs of pinnae, each oblong or oblanceolate up to 9 × 3 mm.
    Racemes with the axis up to 12 cm excluding the peduncle, subglabrous to sparsely pubescent, each with (3)6–14 flowers; bracts up to 9 × 5 mm, ovate or elliptic, acute at the apex, usually falling shortly before anthesis; pedicels 3.5–9(10.5) cm long.
    Hypanthium 2–8 mm long, the narrow basal part gradually expanded above into a shallowly concave disc but the upper part not campanulate, the whole glabrous or sparsely pubescent.
    Sepals 1.8–3 cm long, lanceolate to oblong, glabrous to very sparsely pubescent.
    Petals (3.5)4.2–6.5(7.4) cm long, the lower 4 subequal but the upper one slightly longer than the others with the claw broader and less clearly defined, all scarlet red or sometimes (especially the upper one and the claws of the others) orange or ± yellow, the distal margins undulate.
    Stamen filaments (2.4)3.5–4.5(5) cm long, shorter than the petals.
    Ovary ± sessile, appressed-pubescent with longish but usually sparse hairs.
    Pods (20)30–70 × 3.6–5.8 cm, strongly woody at maturity, with seeds sunk in regular transverse cavities in the woody endocarp; seeds up to 50 or more, c.2.0 × 0.6 × 0.4 cm, linear-ellipsoid, not compressed, light brown mottled with darker brown.
    Se utiliza como leña. Entire plant - Fichas tecnicas
    Boundary Barrier Support Plants
    Se utiliza para hacer cercas. Entire plant - Fichas tecnicas
    Utilizada de ornato, principalmente por sus flores. Live plant (in situ) - Fichas tecnicas



    Found In:

    Madagascar, Peru

    Introduced Into:

    Andaman Is., Angola, Assam, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belize, Borneo, Burkina, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cayman Is., Chad, China South-Central, China Southeast, Christmas I., Colombia, Cook Is., Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, East Himalaya, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jawa, Kenya, Laos, Leeward Is., Lesser Sunda Is., Libya, Malaya, Maldives, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico Central, Mozambique, Mozambique Channel I, Myanmar, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Guinea, New South Wales, Nicobar Is., Niger, Northern Territory, Oman, Pakistan, Panamá, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Queensland, Rodrigues, Réunion, Society Is., Solomon Is., Somalia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad-Tobago, Uganda, Venezuela, Venezuelan Antilles, Vietnam, West Himalaya, Western Australia, Windward Is., Yemen, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

    Common Names


    Delonix regia (Bojer ex Hook.) Raf. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Identified Reference Herbarium Specimen Type Status
    Jan 13, 2015 Hormia, Kristina [210], Mexico K001041107
    Owens, S.J., USA 52815.000
    Owens, S.J., USA 52827.000
    Owens, S.J., USA 54086.000
    Lewis, G.P., Brazil 48437.000

    First published in Fl. Tellur. 2: 92 (1837)

    Accepted in:

    • [1] (2014) Australian Plant Census (APC) . Council of Heads of Australian Herbaria. http://www.anbg.gov.au/chah/apc/index.html
    • [2] Girmansyah, D. & al. (eds.) (2013) Flora of Bali an annotated checklist . Herbarium Bogorensis, Indonesia
    • [3] (2012) Harvard Papers in Botany 17: 65-167
    • [4] (2012) Indian Journal of Forestry 35: 79-84
    • [5] (2012) Nelumbo 54: 39-91
    • [6] (2012) Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192
    • [7] (2010) Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 119: 1-970. Missouri Botanical Garden
    • [8] Flora of China Editorial Committee (2010) Flora of China 10: 1-642. Science Press (Beijing) & Missouri Botanical Garden Press (St. Louis)
    • [9] (2009) Englera 29-1: 1-438
    • [10] (2009) Pleione 3: 190-200
    • [11] (2008) Strelitzia 22: 1-279. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria
    • [12] Hokche, O., Berry, P.E. & Huber, O. (eds.) (2008) Nuevo Catálogo de la Flora Vascular de Venezuela . Fundación Instituto Botánico de Venezuela
    • [13] (2007) Flora Zambesiaca 3(2): 1-218. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    • [14] (2007) Scripta Botanica Belgica 36: 1-220
    • [15] Lock, J.M. & Ford, C.S. (2004) Legumes of Malesia a Check-List . Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    • [16] Kumar, S. & Sane, P.V. (2003) Legumes of South Asia. A Checklist . Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    • [18] 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
    • [19] Balick, M.J., Nee, M.H. & Atha, D.E. (2000) Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Belize with Common Names an Uses . New Yourk Botanic Garden Press, New York
    • [20] Govaerts, R. (2000) World Checklist of Seed Plants Database in ACCESS D: 1-30141
    • [21] Jørgensen, P.M. & León-Yánes, S. (eds.) (1999) Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Ecuador . Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis
    • [22] Wood, J.R.I. (1997) A handbook of the Yemen Flora . Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    • [25] Lock, J.M. & Heald, J. (1994) Legumes of Indo-China a checck-list . Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    • [26] MacKee, H.S. (1994) Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie , ed. 2: 1-164. Museum national d'histoire naturelle, Paris
    • [27] (1993) Flora of Australia 50: 1-606. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra
    • [28] (1993) Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 45: i-xl, 1-1286. Missouri Botanical Garden
    • [30] Jones, M. (1991) A checklist of Gambian plants . Michael Jones, The Gambia College
    • [31] Lebrun, J.p., Toutain, B., Gaston, A. & Boudet, G. (1991) Catalogue des Plantes Vasculaires du Burkina Faso . Institut d' Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux, Maisons Alfort
    • [32] (1990) Flore des Mascareignes 80: 1-235. IRD Éditions, MSIRI, RBG-Kew, Paris
    • [33] Lock, J.M. (1989) Legumes of Africa a check-list . Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    • [34] (1987) Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 17: 1-328. Missouri Botanical Garden
    • [36] (1975) Atoll Research Bulletin 190: 73-84
    • [37] (1946) Fieldiana Botany New Series 24(5): 1-502. Field Museum of Natural History


    • [17] 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.
    • [23] Burkill, H. M. (1995). The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa: Vol 3 Families J – L: 100-101. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • [24] Du Puy, D. J., Phillipson, P. & Rabevohitra, R. (1995). The genus Delonix (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae: Caesalpinieae) in Madagascar. Kew Bull. 50: 445-475.
    • [29] Huxley, A., Griffiths, M. & Levy, M. (eds) (1992). The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening. Vol. 2 (D to K): 25-26. Macmillan Press, London.
    • [35] Sareen & Vasisht (1982). Breeding systems of Delonix regia. In: Improvement of Forest Biomass, ed. P. K. Khosla, pp. 33-40. Pragati press, New Delhi.
    • [38] Fl. Tellur. 2: 92 (1837).
    • [39] Fichas tecnicas


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