Evergreen, tropical tree, it may be deciduous in dry summer s or in mildly cold winters. They may grow to 30-40 ft tall with a broad spread almost double that, with a flat-topped, umbrella-like crown. Leaves are compound, doubly pinnate and large, 30-50 cm long with 20-40 pairs of primary leaflets, pinae, each is further divided into 10-20 secondary leaflets. The flowers are large, with four spreading scarlet or orange-red petals up to 8 cm long and a fifth petal spotted with yellow and white. They are in clusters at the ends of branches. The fruit is a flattened, bean-like pod that is at frist green and maturing to dark brown and some 60 cm long.
Sun, drought-tolerant, but it is at its best with medium moisture on well-drained soils. Plants are stressed at temperatures below 50°F. One enthusiast pined, "possibly the most gorgeous tree in cultivation."
Hardy to USDA Zone 10 (tropical) It is endemic to the Madagascar, where it is now engangered, but it has been introduced into tropical and sub-tropical regions worldwide. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden it can be grown outdoors in the U.S. in the far southern areas of Florida, Texas, Arizona and California plus Hawaii.
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