Mexican Bird of Paradise, Mexican Poinciana

Caesalpinia mexicana

Family: Caesalpiniaceae (ses-al-pin-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Caesalpinia (ses-al-PIN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: mexicana (meks-sih-KAY-nuh) (Info)
Synonym:Poinciana mexicana
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Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Blooms all year



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Seminole, Alabama

Chandler, Arizona

Goodyear, Arizona (2 reports)

Green Valley, Arizona

Maricopa, Arizona (2 reports)

Mesa, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Acton, California

Amesti, California

Aptos, California

Bostonia, California

El Dorado Hills, California

Julian, California

La Quinta, California

Los Angeles, California

Martinez, California

Palm Desert, California

Palm Springs, California

Ramona, California

Redlands, California

Reseda, California (2 reports)

Ridgecrest, California

Rosedale, California

Vista, California

Big Pine Key, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Naples, Florida

Pinellas Park, Florida

Tampa, Florida (2 reports)

Zephyrhills, Florida

Las Vegas, Nevada (3 reports)

North Las Vegas, Nevada

Roswell, New Mexico

Kure Beach, North Carolina

Graniteville, South Carolina

Abilene, Texas

Austin, Texas (4 reports)

Big Spring, Texas

Brady, Texas

Brownsville, Texas

Copperas Cove, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Georgetown, Texas

Houston, Texas

La Porte, Texas

La Vernia, Texas

Magnolia, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

Montgomery, Texas

New Caney, Texas

New Ulm, Texas

Plano, Texas

Salado, Texas

San Antonio, Texas (3 reports)

Santa Fe, Texas

Spicewood, Texas

Tomball, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 28, 2015, azgarden from Chandler, AZ wrote:

My MBOP is about 10 years old. I planted it as a shrub, but trained it into a tree. It provides excellent cover for privacy, but does have some drawbacks, which I've learned to overlook. It is currently about 12 ft tall with a crown just as wide. It does produce quite a bit of litter, some of which I leave in place for the birds to scratch through. The branches are weak, but replacements for breakage grow back quickly. I could keep this blooming for most of the year by watering more frequently and deadheading the spent blossoms. The small nectar loving birds love the blossoms, and the gray cardinals and curved bill thrashers pick through the litter. I do an annual cleanup of the branches and pull all the volunteer seedlings which are about a dozen a year. When in full bloom, spectacular! ... read more


On Jul 20, 2015, brujita94605 from Oakland, CA wrote:

This is a question rather than a comment...

This is a note alongside the other information about this plant:


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Yet it also says it it attractive to butterflies, bees, and birds...
If seeds and other parts of the plant are poisonous...What does that really mean about the nectar and the pollen?


On May 1, 2013, caligirl1 from Visalia, CA wrote:

This is not a mexican BOP, it is a Desert BOP. Different look!

The hot inland central valley in California, seems to be the place for this variety to thrive. It really is spectacular in full bloom, and quite the conversation 'piece.'

Our growing zone is 9b.


On Jul 23, 2012, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Definitely the most aggressive and hardy of the Caesalpinias in my climate (southern California)... and prolific seed 'popper'... all summer long you can hear popping seed hulls and the seeds landing some 15'-20' away. Since our summers are so dry, it is not a big invasive species and rarely do these seeds germinate (haven't had a single one I know of).


On Dec 27, 2010, KanapahaLEW from Alachua, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This was relatively to grow from seed. It finally bloomed in this, its third year, although the blooming came late (October/November). Frost (as low as 18F last year) kills the above-ground growth but it has come back from the roots each year.


On Dec 27, 2010, skaggs88 from Spicewood, TX wrote:

Planted in full sun in hill country west of Austin, TX. It has survived drought and water rationing, and stilled bloomed beautifully. It survived the coldest winter in years at 14 degrees last winter, with no damage! We give it no winter protection, not even mulch. It is only about 5 feet tall, produces seed pods, but we have not seen any new trees come up.


On Jul 1, 2010, sunnydaze45 from Mesa, AZ wrote:

This plant really loves the heat and sun. I have one planted as a small tree in the full sun in my backyard in Mesa Arizona and it blooms all year round. I had planted a few in an area with only partial sun and they just didn't do as well, blooming less and growth was leggy. Mexican Bird of Paradise provides a nice tropical look in the desert.


On Jun 15, 2010, babswalker07 from San Angelo, TX wrote:

I have really enjoyed these small trees in Big Spring, TX. The only problem is they multiply easily and I have to just pull them up or as I do a lot, give them away! Blooms are beautiful. I have about 5 .. and who knows how many babies!


On Nov 11, 2008, agentdonny007 from Las Vegas, NV (Zone 8b) wrote:

Great vertical accent for desert landscape. Blooms spring through fall. Mostly evergreen in Las Vegas winters. Excellent for small yards or tight spaces where vertical interest is desired.


On Feb 15, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Mexican Bird of Paradise, Mexican Poinciana Caesalpinia mexicana is Naturalized in Texas and other States.


On Sep 5, 2003, AusTXpropagater from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Caesalpinia mexicana, while less showy than C. pulcherima as individual blossoms, grows taller and produces numerous large racemes of bright yellow flowers in the dead of summer in Central Texas. It suffers a bit in winter -- especially from ice storms. It may lose a limb or most wood above ground in a hard freeze but usually comes back from the base. Attracts bees galore. Makes light, dappled shade -- a terrific patio specimen.