- A tropical deciduous tree.
- Size: up to 15 m tall with wide spreading foliage.
- Leaves: bright green, feathery and fern-like. Individual leaves are a rounded oblong shape, 5 – 10 mm long and arranged on either side of a 2 – 10 cm long stem. The stems form part of a larger leaf that is 15 – 60 cm long. The tree loses some or all of its leaves at the end of the dry season, and new leaves start appearing when flowering has nearly finished.
- Flowers: predominantly orange-red but there are also yellow and white varieties. Each flower is 8 – 15 cm in diameter and consists of five petals that are 4 – 7 cm long. The flowers grow together in large clusters.
- Fruit/seed: a dark-brown flattened seed pod that is 20 – 70 cm long and 3 – 7 cm wide. It remains on the tree for most of the year.
What to Observe
- First fully open single flower
- Full flowering (record all days)
- End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)
- Not flowering
- First fully open leaf
- Leaves open (record all days)
- First leaf to change colour
- Leaves changing colour (record all days)
- First leaf to drop this year
- 50% or more of leaves dropped (record all days)
- No leaves (record all days)
- Open seed pods (record all days)
ClimateWatch Science Advisor
We expect plants to start shooting and flowering earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth. They may also start appearing in new areas, as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them.
When To Look
- From spring through to autumn.
- Leaves start falling at the end of the dry season (about September).
- Flowers appear in November and December.
- New leaves appear when flowering has nearly finished.
- Seed pods appear after flowering.
Where To Look
- In urban areas – in gardens, parks and roadsides.
- In the tropical to warm temperate regions of Australia, usually near the coast, from Geraldton in Western Australia, north into the Northern Territory and Queensland, and in northern New South Wales.
The map below displays the accumulated observations of these species as reported by ClimateWatch observers, together with the layer showing how the range of the species might change between now and 2085, with orange areas indicating where the species might disappear, and green areas where the species range might expand.
Australian Biological Resources Study 1998. Flora of Australia, Volume 12. CSIRO Publishing / Australian Biological Resources Study.
Csurhes S and Edwards R 1998. Potential Environmental Weeds in Australia. National Weeds Program, Environment Australia, Canberra.
Illawarra Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius): doesn’t have feathery and fern-like leaves, has smaller bell-shaped flowers (1 – 2cm long), and smaller seed pods (about 10 cm long).
Did You Know?
The Poinciana is originally from Madagascar.
The heartwood (part of the inner trunk that has died) is susceptible to termites and the fungus Ganoderma.