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Caesalpinia Gilliesi: the flower of non-reciprocated love


Among the most scenic plants of the botanical landscape there is undoubtedly the Caesalpinia Gilliesii, otherwise known as the Flower of Paradise.

Belonging to the Fabaceae family, it is native to the South American countries of Uruguay and Argentina, as well as abounding in the most tropical and warm regions of the planet.

The plant can reach up to 4 meters in height, although it is necessary to wait at least 10 years to appreciate it in all its grandeur. From April to October it presents a luxuriant flowering with fragrant cluster inflorescences, similar to panicles: they sprout on racemes that can touch the 20 cm of length with their long stamens of a bright red color.
The flowers are then replaced by fruits similar to flat pods, rich in dark seeds rich in toxic tannins: the unpleasant effects of the possible ingestion of the same are resolved in about 24 hours.

Cultivation

The Caesalpina Gilliesi loves sunny environments and resists very well both in urban environments, usually polluted, and in marine environments, rich in salt. It is preferable to prepare a well-drained soil, rich in organic and loose substances, in soil or in pot, to be watered only when the soil is dry: if the plant is planted on the ground, the natural rain water is sufficient; if instead it is cultivated in pot it is important to place perlite or clay on the bottom in order to favor water drainage.
Although it is a plant particularly resistant to both cold and hot temperatures, in colder periods it is strongly recommended to mulch the roots with straw and dry leaves. In any case it is important to point out that even if the plant, due to the rigors of the winter, is quite damaged, it tends to recover very quickly with the right care. In the latter case it will be advisable to intervene at the end of winter with a pruning that will act in particular on the more dry and damaged branches.
To keep the plant lush and well flowered, it is important to fertilize the Caesalpina Gilliesi in spring every 20 days, with a fertilizer rich in potassium and nitrogen, either granular or liquid, to be diluted in the water used for watering.

Illnesses

The Caesalpina Gilliesi fears root rot due to too many irrigations: in this case it is essential, especially in the specimens grown in pots, to guarantee a good drainage of the water with an adequate substrate on the bottom of the container. The Caesalpina Gilliesi however suffers mainly from the floury cochineal: it is easy to notice this pest infesting because on the plant white and voluminous cottony formations begin to appear. In this case it is advisable to intervene quickly eliminating the cochineal with cotton wool soaked in alcohol or washing the entire plant with neutral soap and water: in both cases it is good to wash the plant at the end of the treatment.

Curiosity

The name of the Caesalpina Gilliesi plant refers to Andrea Cesalpini who was not only a philosopher and a botanist, but also the personal physician of Pope Clement VIII.
The flowers of this exotic-looking plant symbolize, in the interesting language of flowers, a non-reciprocated love.

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