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Exotic ornamental tree

Scientific name: Delonix regia

English Name: Flamboyant flame tree

Local Name: Mkakaya

General information

Delonix regia is a tree 10-15 (max. 18) m high, attaining a girth of up to 2 m; trunk large, buttressed and angled towards the base; bark smooth, greyish-brown, sometimes slightly cracked and with many dots (lenticels); inner bark light brown; crown umbrella shaped, spreading with the long, nearly horizontal branches forming a diameter that is wider than the tree’s height; twigs stout, greenish, finely hairy when young, becoming brown. Roots shallow. Delonix regia originates from Madagascar, where it is now almost extinct. It is now widespread in most tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Trees can grow at higher altitudes than recommended, but flowering becomes erratic. The tree demands light and grows weakly and sparsely under shade. It grows in areas with both high and scanty rainfall. Delonix regia has a superficial root system and competes successfully with the neighbouring shrubs and flowering plants, rendering bare the ground under its canopy. It should therefore be planted away from other plants in the gardens. Trees are deciduous only where the dry season is long and pronounced. The species seems to tolerate many types of soils from clay to sandy, but it prefers sandy soils.

Human benefits

The large pods as well as the wood are used for fuel. Timber: The sapwood is light yellow, and the heartwood is yellowish to light brown. It is soft, heavy (specific gravity 0.8), coarse grained, weak, brittle, takes good polish and is rather resistant to moisture and insects although very susceptible to attack by dry-wood termites. The tree yields a thick mucilage of water-soluble of gum in yellowish or reddish-brown warty tears; the seeds contain gum that may find use in textile and food industries. The hard-elongated seeds are occasionally used as beads. It is mainly valued as a decorative tree, often being planted in avenues and gardens. It can also be planted as live fence posts.

Farmer benefits

Delonix regia is planted as a shade tree in dairy farms, tea plantations and compounds. Flowers are believed to produce bee forage.


Health benefits

Different parts of the tree have medicinal properties such as, antibacterial activity and anti- diarrheal and anti-inflammatory properties.