Many have asked – Is the Red Bird of Paradise plant toxic?
All 3 of the bird of paradise flowering bushes are poisonous.
The orange and yellow flowers of the Caesalpinia pulcherrima, make a stunning bush.
The true Mexican Bird of Paradise tree has yellow flowers and round leaves.
The Yellow Bird of paradise plant has clusters of yellowflowers with a long red stamen.
All of these beautiful desert bushes belong to the genus Caesalpinia. But DO NOT eat any part of the 3 Bird of Paradise plants.
Caesalpinia is a genus of flowering plants in the legume family, FABACEAE. The fruit of these Bird of Paradise desert bushes is a long, flat seed pod.
The seed pods are toxic! Watch small children and pets around these shrubs.
The level of toxicity for the bird of paradise plants is low. The leaves contain hydrocyanic acid. The toxins in the bean pods are tannins. The role of tannins in many species of plants is to protect it from predators.
Ingesting any part of bird of paradise plants can cause gastrointestinal irritation. Nausea, diarrhea and vomiting are symptoms of bird of paradise poisoning.
While the Red, Yellow and Mexican Bird of Paradise’s toxins are not life-threatening; keep in mind that diarrhea and vomiting can produce dehydration. These symptoms should be taken seriously and you should seek medical treatment.
Using bean pods to grow your bird of paradise plants is uncomplicated and well worth the effort.
Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Red Bird of Paradise, is a species of flowering plant in the Fabaceae, pea family.
Other common names are Poinciana, Peacock Flower, Mexican Bird of Paradise, Dwarf Poinciana, Pride of Barbados, and flamboyan-de-jardin.
This is especially true for the Red Bird of Paradise bushes, genus Caesalpina, along the roads in Tucson and Phoenix, also common in TX, Mexico and CA.
This drought tolerant plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and birds.
Are the Bird of Paradise Bean Pods edible? NO, all Bird of Paradise plants and bushes are poisonous if ingested.
Bean Pods on the Bird of Paradise bushes and shrubs need toturn brown before you can germinate the seeds. The green bean pods pictured above and below are too young and need more time to dry on the desert plant.
Red Bird of Paradise, Caesalpinia pulcherrima, is native to the tropics and subtropics of the Americas and is also the NATIONAL flower of the Caribbean island of Barbados, which is why you may hear it called Pride of Barbados.
PLANT AND GROW – How to grow bird of paradise plants, bushes, shrubs from seeds.
To germinate the seeds of your bird of paradise perennial plant first step is to score the hard outer coating. I use sandpaper to lightly scrape the seeds then soak them in warm water for 24-48 hours. They will germinate quickly like most seeds in the bean, Legumefamily, do.
To grow your Red Bird of Paradise, plant the soaked seed in peat pots. Cover the seeds lightly with damp vermiculite or a good soil.
You should have bird of paradise seedlings in a few days to a week depending on how hard the outer coat of the seeds are.
Bird of Paradise seeds need at least 8 hours of sun, but not direct sun it will be too hot! You can start to give them a little more direct sun after the first leaves appear.
Peat Pots are great and make growing and transplanting your Mexican, Yellow or Red Bird of Paradise seedlings much easier.
Start your seeds indoors and when you are ready to plant your Bird of Paradise just put the entire pot in the ground. Roots will penetrate the peat pot and the pot disintegrates enriching the soil.
The Red Bird of Paradise is a deciduous (loses its leaves) shrub that thrives in full sun and has brightred and orange flowers that grow on long, thin stalks. The leaves are lacy, ferny-looking.
This is an extraordinarily heat resistant, drought tolerant flowering bush that is a perfect addition to any yard. The Red Bird of Paradise is a fairly fast grower, and can get large, so periodic trimming is suggested. See the photo above of large flowering bushes commonly seen along the streets in Tucson and Phoenix Arizona along with Texas and California.
SEED PROPAGATION – We are germinating the seeds from our bird of paradise bean pods so that we can plant them along our driveway.
Some people like to use the paper-towel method to germinate the Bird of Paradise seeds.
Germinating the bean pod seeds using a paper towel — spray a paper towel with water, put the seeds on it, fold the paper towel over, and wait 24-48 hours. Do NOT let the paper towel dry out.
I have several different types of seeds along with the Bird of Paradise Plants soaking on the paper towel above. Now I’m ready to plant them in peat pots.
** the cactus cuttings will be in a separate article
Along with the paper towel method for germinating the bean pod seeds; I also soaked some seeds in a glass of water which you see in the photo above. The seeds from the pods will become enlarged while they are soaking. Some of them produced a white shoot. That is a root and needs to placed facing DOWN in the peat pots. Cover the seeds lightly with damp soil. Bird of Paradise seeds need at least 8 hours of sun, but not direct sun it will be too hot! You can start to give them a little more direct sun after the first leaves appear.
I pour a little water right on top of the seeds everyday making sure it stays moist.
Peat Pots are great and make growing and transplanting your Red Bird of Paradise seedlings much easier. Start your seeds indoors or a protected area outside and when you are ready to plant your Bird of Paradise just put the entire pot in the ground. Roots will penetrate the peat pot and the pot disintegrates enriching the soil.
Quick info: The Red Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) has lacy leaves that fold up at night & spread open in the sun.
What is the desertbush with Red, Yellow and Orange Flowers? This common Arizona and Texas desert shrub is called the Red Bird of Paradise.
The botanical name for Red Bird of Paradise is Caesalpinia pulcherrima, it is a species in the FABACEAE Family, more commonly known as the pea, bean or legume family.
This is one of the easiest desert flowering plants to grow and take care of in the Phoenix, Tucson area; along with Texas and California. It is deciduous (loses its leaves seasonally), but will bloom constantly through the summer.
The Red Bird of Paradise makes a favorable hedge. The orange and yellow flowers are one of the best plants to attract butterflies & hummingbirds!
The Red Bird of Paradise plant is also the NATIONAL flower of the Caribbean island of Barbados, which is why you may hear it called Pride of Barbados. Please note: when purchasing this plant I have seen it labeled as “Pride of Barbados”.
This desert beauty is very hardy and drought resistant once it’s established; they can have a very long tap-root. With a little mulch at the base, your desert bird of paradise will come back year after year.
The leaves are delicatelacy, fern-looking. You may see this desert plant’s leaves fold up at night, no worries; it is called Nyctinasty and is completely natural. Bird of Paradise are fairly fast growers, and can get LARGE, so periodic trimming is suggested. The better water drainage you have the healthier this flowering plant will be.
Some people refer to this orange and yellow desert bush as the Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana). The actual Mexican Bird of Paradise has only yellow flowers and rounded leaves. For more Mexican Bird of Paradise info
TIDBITS: The Amazon Rainforest Medicine men had some medicinal uses for Red Birdof Paradise, Caesalpinia pulcherrima. Four grams from the root was used to induce abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy. The beanpods and seeds of the Bird of Paradise plant are toxic / poisonous and will cause abdominal symptoms and vomiting.