Mexican Bird of Paradise

Caesalpinia mexicana

Photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed in Phoenix, Arizona, Nov. 2015.

The Mexican Bird of Paradise is not a native plant in Arizona and generally is not found in undisturbed Sonoran Desert habitat. Instead it is found planted as an ornamental in xeriscape gardens. Naturally it is found in southern Sonora, Texas and elsewhere in Mexico. The green twigs and branches are without thorns. The compound leaves average 6 to 10 dark green leaflets. The flatten seed bean pods open explosively as the two valves dry and twist. In the photo below the pod is held vertically and one seed remains after one valve has detached.

Photo © by Michael Plagens

Family: Fabaceae -- Bean Family

More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 8 Nov. 2015,
updated 6 June 2018.