Chaconia, (Warszewiczia coccinea), also popularly known as the Wild Poinsettia, or Pride of Trinidad and Tobago, is the national flower of Trinidad and Tobago.
Having been referred to as the wild poinsettia, Chaconia flowers are in no way, related to the true poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima). Chaconia tree and flowers are used for ornamental purposes. Synonyms of Warszewiczia coccinea/Chaconia are Calycophyllum coccineum (Vahl) DC., Macrocnemum coccineum Vahl, Mussaenda coccinea (Vahl) Poir, Warszewiczia maynensis Wedd, Warszewiczia poeppigiana Klotzsch, etc.
Chaconia tree is remarkable for its inflorescence with bright red bracts and inconspicuous yellow flowers and petals. Flowers are yellow-orange colored which have scarlet, 3-inch-long, enlarged lower lobes. The inflorescences show leaf-shaped, bright-colored calycophylls, expanded foliaceous structures made from floral petaloids with enlarged showy calyx-lobes. The flower has the tubular yellow corollas and the inferior ovaries.The characteristic feature of these flowers are one-inch bright red bracts of the calyxes, grouped together in panicles, which are often found to grow more than a foot in length.
Facts About Chaconia flower
- Chaconia tree is an evergreen ornamental tree.
- Chaconia tree grows to 20-feet in height with opposite, undivided, obovate leaves ranging from eight inches to two feet in length.
- The most widely cultivated form is Double Chaconia which has a double row of bracts.
- Chaconia has loosely organized pseudanthium or cluster of flowers that mimics a single flower as the attraction unit for pollinators,i.e, the main task of calycophylls is to attract pollinators.
- Chaconia represents the imperishability of life and the continuity of the nation - Trinidad and Tobago.
- Chaconia known by its long sprays of magnificent vermilion usually blooms around the time of the Trinidad's anniversary of Independence.
Propagation of Chaconia by seeds is a very rare phenomenon, but not completely absent. Chaconias are mostly propagated by cuttings taken directly from the plant.
- Chaconia needs a constantly moist soil, full sun, high temperatures and humidity.
- The soil should be mostly sandy, mixtured with an organic portion.
- The planting soil must be well drained.
- The seeds won't survive long after collecting, so sow them on sandy soil as soon as possible.
- Sow the seeds with the minimum of space between the seeds.
- Water the seedlings regularly. Do not allow the soil to dry during the period of germination.