Selected Trees and Shrubs
Colvillea racemosa Common name: Colville’s Glory, Colvillea
Plant Family: Belongs to the Fabaceae or Pea family, which includes Bois Kwaib (Sabinea carinalis), Glory Cedar (Gliricidia sepium) and Flame of the Forest (Butea monosperma).
Description: In full bloom, one of the most spectacular of flowering trees; in natural habitat medium-size tree, 15-18 m tall (50-60 ft); Gardens specimen east of Palm Alley is smaller; has large, handsome, bi-pinnate, feathery leaves, similar to Flamboyant (Delonix regia); flowers bright scarlet, but red when inside bud, born in large, very conspicuous cylindrical or cone shaped raceme clusters; fruit a flattened, narrowly oblong, woody pod, 18-30 cm long (7-12 in), with several seeds; seeds woody, dark brown, elongated and flattish; tree very showy and beautiful in bloom, even young trees, 1.5-2.5 m (5-8 ft), bear a profusion of beautiful, scarlet flowers; Colvillea is closely related to Flamboyant, but flowers are quite different, Colvillea being more compact and somewhat pendulous.
Natural Habitat: Low elevations with moist to moderately dry climate; thrives in full sun with a period of dry weather before flowering; propagation from seed and cutting.
Origin and Distribution: Native of Madagascar and possibly Mauritius; cultivated in tropics and subtropics, including Florida. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has put Colvillea on its Red List as a threatened species.
Uses: Primarily ornamental, but also for attractive shade in parks, parking lots and tree-lined thoroughfares.
Indigenous Legends: Named after a British Governor of Mauritius, Sir Charles Colville.
H.F. Macmillan. Tropical Planting and Gardening. Macmillan, London 1956
Colvillea racemosa: Colville's Glory. Top Tropicals, Punta Gorda, Florida, downloaded December 2006 (www.toptropicals.com)
Anon. [Joseph Jones?]. Official Guide to the Botanic Gardens, Dominica. Kew Gardens, London 1924?
Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry. “Colvillea racemosa.” in Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk (PIER), USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC, downloaded December 2006 (www.hear.org)
World Conservation Monitoring Centre. The 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Cambridge, UK, downloaded January 2007 (www.iucnredlist.org)
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