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CAESALPINIA PULCHERRIMA L. – PRIDE OF BARBADOS. TRADITIONAL MEDICINAL PLANT OF THE SURINAMES

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

CAESALPINIA PULCHERRIMA L. – PRIDE OF BARBADOS

Caesalpinia Pulcherrima Synonym Poinciana pulcherrima, Poinciana bijuga.
Common name Pride of Barbados, dwarf poinciana, red bird of paradise, krere – krere, Barbados flower – fence, pearock flower, tabachin, tabaquin.
Family Caesalpinaceae and Fabaceae.

Overview

Pride of Barbados is a small evergreen perennial shrub or tree, from the West Indies, 10 – 15 feet high with alternate, bipinnate leaves. The stem and branches are armed with spines. The red, orange, yellow and pink flowers grow at the end of the prickly branches. This small, graceful tree flowers throughout the year and is a beautiful garden plant. Pride of Barbados has beautiful bowl – shaped flowers in the colors red, orange, orange – red and yellow. The yellow variety is often called yellow bird of paradise.

The fruits are legumes, 3 – 4″ long; when ripe they split open and release the brown bean. The variety of pride of Barbados with red flowers is also called red bird of paradise, while the yellow species is called phoenix bird of paradise. Closely related is the Yellow bird of paradise (Caesalpinnia gilliesii) which has yellow flowers with long red stamens.

*** Suriname’s traditional medicine The leaves are purgative and used against kidney stones, malarial fever and bronchitis.

**** Flavonoids isolated from this plant possess anti-inflammatory activities; the flavonoid of quercetin has antiviral activity. Pride of Barbados exhibit a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity, particularly against Escherichia coli (enteropathogen), Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus.

**** The root and stem seem to be cytotoxic.(damages or destroys cancerous cells).

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Henry Sapiecha