“Flowers whisper ‘Beauty!’
to the world, even as they fade,
wilt, fall.” – Dr. SunWolf
76GASPARILLA ISLAND 2018 March/April
Also known as a “flame tree” and,
around these parts, a “tarpon tree.”
This species was previously placed in
the genus Poinciana, named for
Phillippe de Longvilliers de Poincy, the
17th century governor of Saint
Christophe (Saint Kitts). It is a non
nodulating legume. The flowers of Delonix
regia are large, with four spreading
scarlet or orange-red petals up to
8 cm long, and a fifth upright petal
called the standard, which is slightly
larger and spotted with yellow and
white. They appear in corymbs along
and at the ends of branches. The naturally
occurring variety flavida (Bengali:
Radhachura) has yellow flowers. The
pods are green and flaccid when young
and turn dark-brown and woody.
It is said around Gasparilla Island that
the more flowers the tarpon tree
produces at its peak in late May to
June, the more tarpon will be in the
Boca Grande Pass.
Known for their intoxicating (and for
some, overpowering) scent, gardenias can
be house plants or used for landscaping.
They flourish in acidic soil, demand high
humidity and bright – but not direct – light.
They are used in Chinese medicine for their
clearing, calming and cooling properties.