Pride of Barbados

The National Flower of Barbados is called the Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia Pulcherrima) and also known as Red Bird of Paradise. This evergreen shrub with its fern-like leaves, appears on the Barbados Coat of Arms, grows quite quickly and blossoms all year round making it a beautiful aspect of any garden in Barbados. The flowers of the Pride of Barbados have bright scarlet petals and yellow edges though there are other variations found on the island.


As early as the 1657, references to the Pride of Barbados flower were recorded. It is a shrub and is often pruned into a low hedge that can grow to a height of approximately 10 to 15 feet.


Care of the Pride of Barbados Plant

Fortunately, the Pride of Barbados plant is not on the vulnerable end when it comes to pests. This sun-loving plant should be planted in direct sunlight and away from shade. It's tremendous heat and drought resistant ability enables it to be highly tolerable even during Barbados' dry season. Of notable mention is the fact that even in dry soil conditions, the Pride of Barbados plant is able to function normally.


This plant is cultivated by way of seeds that are found in the pods of the flowers. These seeds burst open and are naturally dispersed by the plant itself or through planting at a later date. Seeds should be pre-soaked overnight in hot water before the planting process begins. The Pride of Barbados plant should be planted in well aerated soil that is made up of a well-balanced amount of alkaline and acid proportions with adequate drainage.


Some Medicinal Values of the Pride of Barbados Plant

In the older days, mothers made a tea from the Pride Of Barbados flowers and leaves for their babies as it helped them sleep and in some cases was used instead of milk at night for babies
The juice from the leaves is said to cure fever, the juice from the flower is said to cure sores, and the seeds are said to cure bad cough, breathing difficulty, and chest pain
In Suriname's traditional medicine the leaves of this plant are said to be a purgative and are used against kidney stones, malarial fever and bronchitis. It is also said to be an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and helpful against staphylococcus and that it destroys cancerous cells
The Pride of Barbados plant contains compounds that have powerful antiviral benefits that are especially effective against human herpes viruses and adenoviruses which cause the common cold. It prevents these viruses from replicating. Other recent studies demonstrate that extracts from the flower, stem, leaf, fruit, root, and seed are also effective against wheezing, bronchitis, malarial infection, tuberculosis, other bacteria, fungi, and some parasites
This plant has parts which were used by the slave women to induce abortion. They often used the root of this plant to commit suicide in the hope of returning to their native land through reincarnation, so that they may live in freedom with their relatives and loved ones in Africa while their bodies die in slavery

This pride of Barbados is certainly quite an ornamental plant that not only stands out as a major attraction across gardens in Barbados but also as a gentle reminder of the amazing power and strength that is associated with this wonder plant.


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