Caesalpinia gilliesii (Bird of Paradise Bush)

Scientific Name

Caesalpinia gilliesii (Hook.) D.Dietr.

Common Names

Bird of Paradise, Bird of Paradise Bush, Desert Bird of Paradise, Yellow Bird of Paradise, Paradise Caesalpinia, Paradise Poinciana


Caesalpinia macrantha, Erythrostemon gilliesii, Poinciana gilliesii, Poinciania gilliesii

Scientific Classification

Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Tribe: Caesalpinieae
Subtribe: Lupininae
Genus: Caesalpinia


Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Summer


Caesalpinia gilliesii is an evergreen shrub or small tree that grows up to 10 feet (3 m) tall. Each leaf is up to 8 inches (20 cm) long and has 8 to 12 pairs of pinnae, with each pinna having 7 to 11 pairs of elliptic leaflets. Flowers are 5-petaled, pale yellow, up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long, each featuring 10 showy red stamens, and appear in open terminal racemes in summer. The flower is about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, but the stamens protrude from the flower tube for another 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm). Fruits are curved, flattened, linear to sickle-shaped, 8 to 10 seeded pods.

Caesalpinia gilliesii (Bird of Paradise Bush)
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USDA hardiness zones 8a to 11b: from 10 °F (−12.2 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Caesalpinia requires bright illumination, no less than 8 hours of direct light per day. However, on the southern side, the plant may suffer from heat, so shading is required. Suitable for western and eastern windows. With a lack of light, it is very difficult to achieve flowering.

A too fertile substrate is not necessary. A simple mixture of leaf and sod land with the addition of sand is suitable. Preferably loose soil can be used for commerce based on peat mixture with the addition of perlite or vermiculite with a neutral acidity (pH 6.5 to 7.5). Good drainage and a hole in the pot are needed.

Caesalpinia requires regular, abundant watering, approximately 1 to 2 times a week in the summer. In winter, the plant is humidified less often. The soil between the watering should be slightly dry. It is better to provide a rare but abundant watering compared to frequent but small portions. Abundant watering stimulates the development of a deep root system. The plant tolerates drought quite easily, but the substrate must not dry completely, especially for young shoots. With insufficient watering, the formation of flowers is difficult. See more at How to Grow and Care for Caesalpinia.


Caesalpinia gilliesii is native to tropical America, mainly Argentina and Uruguay. It is naturalized in Texas and fairly common in the rest of the southwestern United States.


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