As the `Peacock Flower Tree` has a lot of similarity with the Gul Mohr tree, the village people make a mistake very often in differentiating these two trees. The tree is named as `Caesalpinia Pulcherrima` in science. The name `Caesalpinia` honours a 16th C. botanist and philosopher Andrea Caesalpini and `Pulcherrima` means the "most beautiful". It derived from the famous family of `Leguminosae` and its sub family is `Caesalpineae`. The tree is very common and famous in India and hence got a name in almost every language that is spoken in India. In Hindi
, it is called as `Kunish Churin`. The Bengali
people know it as `Krishna Chura` and `Radha Chura`. The tree is named as `Komri` in Tamil. It is also known as `Barbados Pride` in English.
The form and growth of this nice shrub are quite unlike the other tree and the flowers. The flowers of this tree are smaller in size and are grouped differently. Nobody can justify its native country, but it was about 1680 that this tree was recorded as growing in the gardens of India. At present, the `Peacock Flower Tree` is popular in all of the tropical and sub-tropical countries. The other variety of the tree, the pure yellow and bright orange-red coloured types are equally popular. People like the bright and exciting colours of these flowers. It is considered as the showiest of the forty odd species of `Caesalpinia`.
This tree can rise up to 25 m and its low branches form an open and spreading bush. The foliage of this tree is clear green and feathery and remains topped with broad spires of blossoms practically throughout the year. The bark is pale in colour and downy. It is often marked with blackish spots and also armed with solid prickles. These prickles rise from round protuberance. The young branches of the `Peacock Flower Tree` are smooth and green coloured. The leaves are large and bear long stems. They are bi-pinnate and they grow opposite at wide intervals. They also bear twelve to eighteen pinnas. Each of the pinnas bears from twenty to forty little, oblong leaflets. The leaflets have very slightly lobed ends. They are smooth and dull and the underside is significantly paler.
The larger sprays of flowers appear at the ends of the branches and they are often sub-divided into smaller sprays. Their shapes of the buds are like eggs and they are borne on long, slim stems along with the open flowers. In the red variety of the `Peacock Flower Tree`, the edged flowers are of orange red in colour and also marked with deep yellow. With the course of time, they become completely red. The flowers bear five spoon-shaped petals and amongst them, one is smaller in size and shaped differently. However, all of them have wrinkled edges. The calyx is red and orange coloured and it has five long lobes. The lobes spread out to show between the petals. Ten very long stamens give the sprays a whiskery appearance. They are red coloured in the red flowers and yellow in the yellow variety. The flowers are strangely curled and twisted on opening.
The pods of the tree are straight and slim and about 7.5 cm in length. As the legends connect the `Peacock Flower Tree` with God Shiva
, all the Hindus think it as very much sacrosanct. All parts of the tree have some kind of medicinal uses. The leaves are taken as a replacement for senna and they are an efficient purgative as well. It is also claimed that as a fomentation they can heal wounds. The roots are considered to be a bit poisonous, but like many other poisons, it can also be applied as a tonic if taken in suitably small quantities. People make ink from the burnt wood as well. The `Peacock Flower Tree` produces a great quantity of seeds and you can find the self-sown seedlings quite frequently. The tree starts flowering when its only eight months old and it is amazingly drought resisting. The characteristic of pruning regularly after flowering helps it to avoid becoming messy.