"A woodland in full colour is awesome as a forest fire, in magnitude at least, but a single tree is like a dancing tongue of flame to warm the heart."
~ Hal Borland
Much wider than they are high, the majestic Poinciana trees spread their elegant arms draped in masses of flaming red flowers and bright green feathery leaves.
Heralding the start of summer by filling the streets of Brisbane with the festive colours of the holiday season, these magnificent trees imported and planted by our forefathers many years ago have done much to shape the character of our city.
One of the most spectacular of all trees and native to Madagascar, the umbrella-shaped Poinciana grows to around ten metres in height and fifteen metres in width.
The large, scarlet orchid-like flowers consist of five petals, four of which are bright red. The fifth petal is either white or yellow and patterned with crimson spots or streaks.
These unusual flowers are fantastic to photograph, especially with a macro lens where they seem to take on an almost alien appearance.
Though nature surprises us with her beauty all through the year, I especially love these last couple of months of the year in Brisbane, characterised by brilliant and flamboyant colour.
The Jacarandas have recently bloomed, leaving behind the purple carpets of their delicate flowers on the fields and streets as a reminder of the short-lived season of Spring, the temperatures have not yet reached the highs of mid-summer and the storm season - though close - has not yet begun ...
And now, just in time for Christmas, the streets are carpeted yet again, this time in fire-engine red - courtesy of the stately Poincianas!