desert bird of paradise

lorna-organicOctober 25, 2007

I planted a desert bird of paradise a couple of years ago. The plant reminds me of a fern. The flowers are very exotic looking, bright yellow with extremely long red stamens. My bush has grown well. This year it flowered three times.

Unfortunately, all parts of this plant are extremely toxic. One wouldn't want to plant it where pets might consume seed pods, flowers or anything else.

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Hi Lorna,

I have them in my yard. One I planted on purpose. I am trying to use only low water desert plants.

The main problem I have is for some reason the smell of the plant makes me nauseas. I can't stand to be too close and if I brush the bush when I am mowing it makes my stomach flip. I final had my husband pull it out by the roots.

I tried cutting it back drasticly but it just kept coming back!

I hate killing any plant that does well out here in the upper Mojave desert of CA but I just could't take it any more. :)

I wanted to plant the Mexican BOP but it is tropical and in my little sub zone I could't get one to servive the winter even though I can go into Lancaster and Palmdale and find them growing there. Oh well.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 10:08PM
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Hello thunderrose,

The plant is toxic, and it must be that you react to that. What a shame! Maybe you could try barricading a Mexican BOP with straw bales to keep it warmer during winter.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 2:41AM
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Mexican BOP should be root hardy in the Mojave. I have wintered them over in Las Cruces, NM (USDA Zone 8; Sunset Zone 10) mulching the roots heavily. Definitely worth it.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 11:26AM
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After admiring a friends Bird of Paradise here in Lubbock, TX I planted one last year. It grew well and came back this year but has not bloomed yet. What can I do to induce blooms?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 2:22PM
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Hi thunderrose, what a shame that it makes you sick !
I have both a yellow and a red Mexican Bird of Paradise that are doing good. The yellow one was planted a year ago and its tripled in size and has many blooms on it, the Red one I just bought and I haven't planted it yet as its in full bloom too and I am worried the blooms might be affected if I plant it, but I have no idea if that's true or not.
The red one is one of my most favorite plants, I love the lacy look of its leaves.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 2:20PM
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Paula - For all the Caesalpinia family, water DEEPLY and not very often.

The Desert one does have a musky odor that some people hate.

And I have not found the seeds to be poisonous: I have eaten them in the past. The pods, however, can be sickening. (note that "toxic" means "makes one sick", not necessarily lethally poisonous) Lantana berries, for example are toxic, and any child who eats a handful will regret it because of the indigestion and tummyaches.

""The green fruit and seeds of C. gilliesii can cause serious stomach and intestinal irritation if eaten. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and profuse diarrhea for about 24 hrs.
However, hulled green seeds of C. pulcherrima are reputed to be edible, and may have some medicinal value. The bottom line is that you probably should not include the fruit or seeds of these plants in a garden salad. On the other hand, the toxicity problems are not so serious that you canÂt use them in the landscape."

Here is a link that might be useful: University fact sheet

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 10:57AM
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