Gosh that looks like a poinciana I thought, as I wandered along the road near my house taking the dogs for their morning walk. It must be an Illawarra flame tree, they’re still flowering. As we got closer it kept looking more and more like a poinciana and sure enough, as I stood next to it I saw that it was. There were the unmistakable orange and red flowers and ferny green leaves.
A poinciana in full flower in Kurmond! I don’t know what was stranger – seeing this tree in full bloom in our neighbourhood with its below zero winter temperatures, or that I’ve lived just around the corner for 10 years and never seen it before.
The tree is about 2.5m tall and as wide. It is well sheltered by other trees and shrubs on the high side of the street and it gets the western sun. It is above a bitumen road, which may give it a little extra warmth in winter.
I am guessing that it doesn’t often flower but relished the mild winter and warm summer and burst into bloom. It is keeping good company with a heavily laden mango in a near by garden and a clump of bananas at the top of our street.
I am occasionally asked if poincianas grow in Sydney. It isn’t the first I’ve seen. There was a large, spreading poinciana growing in the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney adjacent to Lion Gate Lodge in Mrs Macquaries Road. It had the occasional bloom.
I’ve always said you could grow one in a warm coastal microclimate, but this tree has blown that theory out of the water. Obviously you can grow a poinciana anywhere!
As with other tropical flowering trees growing out of their climate zone, the Kurmond poinciana is in full flower much later than its northern relatives. The poincianas flower in Brisbane well before Christmas and here we were in mid January with a good smattering of flowers. It lacks the broad spreading canopy you associate with these magnificent trees but, who is quibbling, it gets an A+ for just being there!