101 YUCATAN TREES INDEX
DWARF POINCIANA - Chaksikin
Below you see one of the Yucatan's most frequently planted bushes or small trees.
That's the Dwarf Poinciana, Caesalpinia pulcherrima, a tropical American native but planted in the tropics worldwide. Above you see the yellow form. Most plants bear predominantly red flowers like those at the right.
Since Dwarf Poincianas belong to the Bean Family, their fruits are legumes containing beans. If you are ever near a Dwarf Poinciana heavy with mature legumes ready to open and it's a particularly hot, dry afternoon of the kind that occurs in April and May, notice if you are hearing occasional snapping sounds. Dwarf Poinciana pods are explosive. As they dry, tensions within the legume reach the point when suddenly the whole pod splits, the tough sides twist like electrified earthworms, and beans are thrown everywhere. A recently-split legume is shown below..
Dwarf Poincianas are so frequently planted that they're known by a host of other English names as well, such as Peacock Flower, Barbados Pride, Barbados Flower-fence, Red Bird-of-Paradise, and more. Since it's a native plant, in the Yucatan the Maya name Chaksikin often is used.
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