Barbados' National Flower, Pride of Barbados, Barbados Pocket Guide

Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia Pulcherrima)

The national flower of our island Barbados is the Pride of Barbados or the Dwarf Poinciana. It is native to to Tropics and sub Tropics of the Americas but can also be found in India and the Phillipines. The plant grows to aproximately 9 feet tall and bears flowers that are red and yellow with five petals. Other variations of the plant can be found in different colours. The fruit of the tree is a pod that grows between 6 - 12 cm long.The Pride of Barbados flowers for most of the year, the plants branches are prickly and the leaves are large with many leaflets. Each Flower has 5 petals with a yellow margin in a pyramidal inflorescence. Each flower is about 1½ inches across with five sepals. The ten stamens are long and the pistils project from the centre of the flower. The fifth petal is far smaller than the other four. The stamens have coloured filaments with anthers at the tips however, the eleventh filament bears a stigma and is the style.

In India the plant goes by many names including Guletura, Radhachura, Kenjige, Settimanaram, Sankasur, Sidhakya, Mayurkonrai, Krishnochuda, Krishnachura and Mayurkonari depending on what region you live in. In the Philipines it is called Caballero and is know widely for its medicinal values.

The first records of this specis of plant occur in Barbados' history around 1657. The National Flower is accepted as the red variety with the Yellow Margin on the petals. It appears on the Barbados Coat of Arms.

Medicinal Values

In the Amazon region the plant is known for its medical uses by medicine men. Extract from the leaves can be used to help persons with high fevers, the juice from the flower is said to be a great cure for sores, the seeds are are good for bad cough, breathing difficulty and chest pains. It is also said that the root of the plant if ingested can bring on abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy.

In Barbados we mainly use it as a decorative plant and it is found in many gardens both public and private. The red petals fo the flowers infused with the yellow are very beautiful and add lots of colour to many a garden on our island. Because of the ability to prune and shape the plant it is widely used to make hedges in many Barbadian.

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