Rajamalli is a tall shrub that grows to the height of a small tree. With its colorful red and yellow flower clusters rising in the shape of a pagoda, it is a beautiful garden plant too.
In English, it is called Peacock Flower owing to the peculiar shape of its flowers. They appear in clusters which are broader towards the bottom. Each individual flower has five spatula-like petals. Also, these petals vary in size, usually one of them is bigger than the others. They have foldings along the edge. Moreover, the long stamens – 10 in number – add to the overall attractiveness of the flower.
The botanical name of this shrub is Caesalpinia pulcherrima. Being considered as a native of the tropical Caribbean Islands, it is also known as the Pride of Barbados.
Rajamalli appears throughout Kerala. The flowers can be red, yellow or a mix of both. Yellow Rajamalli is also called Swarnamalli.
Like many of the thorny shrubs, Rajamalli also has hard stems with thorns usually green in color.
They have long bi-pinnate leaves consisting of up to 10 uni-pinnate leaves, which in turn have up to 10 leaflets.
Peacock flower belongs to the same family Fabaceae as Gulmohar or Royal Poinciana.
Type: Perennial Shrub
Botanical name: Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Common Names in English:
Peacock Flower, Dwarf Poinciana, Red Bird of Paradise, Pride of Barbados
Another name in Malayalam: Swarnamalli
Flowering: Throughout the year
Height: 3 to 5 meters
Main Uses: Garden plant
Native to Caribbean, tropical Americas, considered as native in India