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Flamboyant Trees Inspire Tropical Art, Music, and Song

flamboyant tree in bloom with palm tree in background of Flamboyan on the bay resort and villas

Written by Coconut Post

Whether you’re in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands as a visitor, a local — or always in spirit — Coconut Post keeps you posted on fun-filled news ’n views. Published monthly by Flamboyan On The Bay Resort & Villas, we’re focused on sharing our people, places, and fun things happening in paradise.

January, 2020

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.

girl painting shack shacks outside on a pool deck

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.

Left: Kashayla Jn Jacques, a talented 11-year-old sixth-grader at New Testament Academy, paints colorful designs on shack-shack pods shed from the flamboyant tree. 

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