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Caesalpinia gilliesii     
Yellow bird of Paradise   
Fabaceae Family     

Compiled by the Master Gardeners
of the University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension.


Form: large irregular shrub; can be trained to small tree
Seasonality: deciduous; may be evergreen in warmer areas
Size: 5-10ft, spread 4-6ft; rapid growth
Leaves: bipinnate, 3-5in long, finely cut ferny appearance
small leaflets
bipinnately compound leaf of
Caesalpinia gilliesii
Flowers: on branch terminals, informal racine of solid yellow flowers with long red stamens; bloom mainly in spring and early summer, then sporadically; 4-5in long; showy
Fruit: tan fuzzy pod, dehiscent, curled, persistent on branches unless removed
Stems/Trunks: greenish stems, noticeable lenticils, spineless; slender trunk if any
Range/Origin: originally Argentina, now naturalized throughout SW US
Hardiness: to 15°F or lower


flower close-up
blooms on caesalpinia gilliesii
(note red stamens)


aka "Native Bird"
seed pods are poisonous
more cold hardy than C. pulcherrima, so usually does not require pruning of winter damage

Caesalpinia species comparison
 C. pulcherrimaC. mexicanaC. gilliesii
flowers red solid yellow yellow with red stamen
spines present ? no
leaves ferny broader (leaflets) ferny
hardiness least, typically heavily damaged in winter moderate, okay in warm microclimates most hardy

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This page was first created August 2, 2002 and last modified March 16, 2006.

Web page design and photographs by Toni Moore, Master Gardener
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