Sunday, April 27, 2014

From the Archives 2009 : Flame Trees

June 2009.

Much to my astonishment we are almost half way into the month of June already, and half of the year 2009 is on the back side of the calendar. So it came upon me slowly that this is the month that poinciana trees choose to bloom. You would have to be oblivious to life itself not to spot these bright orange flowers glowing all over town:

In the Keys they are known as Royal Poinciana, Delonix regia to give them their latin name, but who gave them the regal appellation I don't know I'm sure. The size and quantity of the blooms varies from tree to tree though the clusters of flowers always make an impression:
Even though I live in a corner of the United States which overflows with fantastic flora, I am no botanist, so you can take my word that you can't miss the poincianas anywhere around town, Old Town:
Or in New Town:
The poincianas, known in the Caribbean islands as "flamboyants" create a backdrop all their own:
In parts of Asia and Africa they are known as Flame Trees (Australian flame trees are I think something a little different):
The picture above is Eaton Street at Elizabeth, this is William Street from Eaton looking towards the Schooner Wharf area at the waterfront:
Look up and there are flame trees burning overhead:
Look down and the petals become so much debris, littering driveways, sidewalks and parked cars:
There are trees at the post office on Whitehead Street:
And the green and orange of the tree contrast nicely with the classic white wood of Key West homes:
The flowers themselves look like orchids to me, seen close up:
In New Town the Poinciana Public Housing complex is converted Navy Housing which is now affordable rental apartments for city residents, in the the sort of spacious tree lined tract that one doesn't generally associate with public housing. Personally I think public housing could use fewer high rises and more poincianas:
And across the street is a Key West version of a strip mall:
And just up the street Smurf Village has its own flaming poincianas to brighten up the street:
Call it what you will, royal poinciana, flamboyant or flame tree, its a bloom worth celebrating.