The exquisitely beautiful flamboyant tree — celebrated for its vibrant orange-red summertime blossoms — is known by many names including Royal Poinciana, Delonix Regia, and “flame tree.”
Although native to Madagascar, the tree thrives on tropical islands — even during droughts — and is known to tolerate salty conditions. Wide roots provide flamboyant trees with a system to remain grounded when trade winds are high or hurricanes make landfall.
The long brown pods of the flamboyant — which can grow to a foot and a half in length — become particularly conspicuous when the hardy tree sheds its leaves. In the Caribbean islands, seed pods are often used as percussion instruments known as ‘shack-shacks.’
A natural canvas, school children also make use of dried shack-shacks to paint colorful designs, then display on walls.
In 2002, award-winning steel pan entertainer Andrew Douglas recorded the song “Shake Your Shack-Sheck” for a musical CD packaged with the novel “Back To The Ship” by local author Teddi Davis. The book / CD is available for sale at Flamboyan on the Bay reception desk.