General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 7b -15 °C (5 °F) to -12.2 °C (10 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 11
Plant Height: 5-10 feet
Plant Spread: 4-6 feet
Leaves: Malodorous
Fruit: Dehiscent
Pops open explosively when ripe
Fruiting Time: Late spring or early summer
Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Showy
Blooms on new wood
Flower Color: Bi-Color: Yellow and red
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Late summer or early fall
Underground structures: Taproot
Suitable Locations: Patio/Ornamental/Small Tree
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Flowering Tree
Will Naturalize
Suitable for miniature gardens
Dynamic Accumulator: Nitrogen fixer
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Drought tolerant
Toxicity: Leaves are poisonous
Roots are poisonous
Fruit is poisonous
Other: All parts highly toxic
Propagation: Seeds: Provide light
Scarify seeds: You can also soak them in water before planting.
Days to germinate: 3-25
Start indoors
Can handle transplanting
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Tip
Pollinators: Self
Moths and Butterflies
Various insects
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Least Concern
Common names
  • Desert Bird of Paradise
  • Yellow Bird of Paradise
  • Bird Of Paradise
Botanical names
  • Accepted: Caesalpinia gilliesii
  • Synonym: Erythrostemon gilliesii

  • Posted by Katie (Austin, TX - Zone 8b) on Jun 24, 2013 10:52 AM concerning plant:
    This is a very pretty plant, but it attracts stink bugs. The stink bugs cause the seed pods to prematurely dry.
  • Posted by NMoasis (Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft - Zone 7b) on Jul 30, 2020 9:46 PM concerning plant:
    This plant is hardy in zone 7b. It is a desert plant and needs no irrigation, but will welcome a drink occasionally. It has several interesting features: The yellow flowers with red stamens look almost tropical. The ripe seed pods split in half with an audible SNAP and it flings seeds up to 30 feet away. The twisted, spiraled pods litter the ground and some stay on the plant. It continues to produce new flowers while throwing seeds. The seeds start sprouting the following summer wherever they land. This plant is basically a weed where I live in New Mexico and it grows fast on a single trunk, but if cut at the base in fall it re-emerges with multiple trunks. I'll usually let one grow for a few years then dig it out, letting others come up in different places as I choose. It does not have a pleasant smell. Not recommended for the manicured garden, but is a fast, flashy filler for difficult dry spots.
  • Posted by Trish (Grapevine, TX - Zone 8a) on Apr 29, 2012 7:13 PM concerning plant:
    Yellow flowers with red stamens.
    Low water needs once established.
    Nitrogen fixer.
  • Posted by jathton (Oklahoma City, OK - Zone 7a) on Nov 1, 2019 2:16 PM concerning plant:
    Both this plant database and the Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder database list this plant as hardy to zone 8. The MBG database does, however, say it might be hardy in zone 7 if planted in a protected location.

    It should be pointed out that at least 5 specimens of this plant have been growing in Oklahoma City gardens for many years. They do, of course, die to the ground in winter... but they all return very vigorously each spring. The two I am most familiar with grow into 5x5 foot specimens each year and bloom prolifically.

    All of the photos I have loaded to this location are of a plant growing in Oklahoma City [zone 7a.]
  • Posted by CDsSister (Greenwood Village, CO - Zone 5b) on Aug 29, 2012 7:33 PM concerning plant:
    What an interesting plant: the bloom, the leaves, and the fruit.

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