Zoo Miami Fauna and Flora - The Red Royal Poinciana
Even the shortest of strolls around Zoo Miami will bring you face-to-face with this most vibrant of trees – The Red Royal Poinciana. Although they come in many colors – yellow, orange, white – the red one is probably the most eye-catching and beautiful of all. Endemic to Madagascar, the Red Poinciana or Delonix regia is invariably rated one of the five most beautiful flowering trees in the world, and may also be the most colorful.
At Zoo Miami, you can enjoy its beautiful canopy almost everywhere you go – at Oasis Grille, Amazon & Beyond, by animal exhibits, along walkways, behind paddocks. If you take Zoo Miami’s behind-the-scenes guided tram tour, you’ll see them throughout as well. You can view them up close or from afar as they blend in and complement the surrounding trees and flowers with their striking hue. The contrast between their red flowers and the green foliage is breath-taking. Aside from their beauty, they provide wonderful shade for both visitor and animal.
Bob Beck, a docent with Zoo Miami for 22 years and tree expert, offers tips for those thinking of planting the Royal Poinciana in their front or backyard. “Grass grows poorly under it. Do not plant closer than 10’ to sidewalks or drive ways, as the tree’s large surface roots can grow out and destroy them. Early pruning is necessary to ensure firm attachment of limbs to trunk, to help compensate for weak wood. Limbs trimmed at 8’ to 12’ from the ground will help keep the branches arching to the grounds around the edges after many years. Major limbs should not be allowed to grow to more than half the trunk diameter.”
You also need to have the appropriate size lot before thinking of planting one of these beauties. “For all of its size and beauty, this tree is meant only for those with the space and patience to cope with its mess after blooming,” adds Bob.
So if you want to enjoy the beauty of this magnificent tree but don’t want the “muss and fuss” that comes with it, just visit Zoo Miami, where you can enjoy the experience without all the hard work!