Caesalpinia Species, Brazilian Ironwood, Iron Wood, Leopard Tree

Caesalpinia ferrea

Family: Fabaceae (fab-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Caesalpinia (ses-al-PIN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: ferrea (FER-ee-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Caesalpinia ferrea var. cearensis



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:

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

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 2, 2019, jasoncc from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

I have had this tree in my garden since about 2007. Just beautiful!!

The last hurricane Irma in 2017 took away a few branches and all the leaves.

I was looking forward to the leaves returning by now but they have not. The seeds appeared a couple of months ago and there are a few little sprouts of leaves so I don't think it died (yet).

Does anyone have any suggestions ????


On Nov 5, 2017, duranite from Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I love this tree! Yes, it's not native but it's perfect for South Florida, we should adopt it fully. I got this tree because I needed a fast grower for shade and it delivered! From a 6' sapling, in about 5 years, it was about 20' tall casting shade. Every year it gets better and better.

This tree has a beautiful, smooth trunk with peeling bark in multiple colors which I love. It's topped with lacy foliage that's dense and attractive to resident birds. It's a total bird magnet and I have several nesters in mine. There are bright yellow flowers in the summer and seed pods that fall in the winter that are small and not messy to pick up. Unfortunately, the squirrels ignore them.

The wood in this tree is strong! Mine has been through multiple hurricanes and not a s... read more


On Jul 3, 2007, Phytodealer from Braslia,
Brazil wrote:

As long as seeds are scarifyied they will germinate well in soil with a good supply of nutrients and well drained. I have a Brazilian Ironwood tree at my front garden and it developed so fast in two years that it is already bearing the first flowers, although it will take a few more years to grow its trunk in diameter and develop a more wide crown.
See the pictures I have added


On May 8, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Called Leopard Tree or Leopard bark because of its beautiful mottled bark and Brazilian Ironwood for its hard wood which is dark brown with thin black streaks. Unlike many of the Caesalpinia this species is not thorny. Native to South American.


On Aug 11, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This is a big tree, reaching up to 30m tall, from the brazilian tropics. Its common name comes from its very hard wood, that is the main atractiveness of this plant. It has a thin grey bark that falls constantly, revealing an uncommon white wood that looks like made of ivory.

The small leaves and tiny leaflets are constantly renewed, so you may have some work to keep the ground clean. The yellow flowers are unoticeable in largest individuals. The fruits are dark brown, hard, and wont rippen easily, but its kinda sweet inside, and birds like it.