Flamboyant trees mark the beginning of fall on St John (but not the end of 'summer' which is year round!)

From late spring through September the landscape of St John is on fire with brilliant reds dotting the hillsides.  The reds come from the beautiful Flamboyant trees which bloom starting as early as May and last through much of September. 
Flamboyant tree
photo courtesy of St John UUF

Flamboyant trees, also known as Royal Poincianas, are not native to the Caribbean but find their roots [pun intended] in Madagascar where, today sadly, they are nearly extinct.  They were introduced to the Caribbean and the Americas during the 17th century.  These magnificent trees which often range from 15 - 40 feet in height also have a huge branch span and provide much desired shade during the summer months.  Their deep and long root systems - and soft wood - makes them ideal candidates to be able to weather hurricanes and other strong winds. However, you dare not plant these beautiful trees near cisterns or swimming pools or their roots will find their way to the nearest water source during the dry months.  

Children and adults alike enjoy using the large dried seed pods as rattles, commonly called Shak Shak's

These dried pods make for great musical instruments

We are fortunate to have two of these magnificent trees at our St John villa and - of course - have a hammock under one of them so we can lie in its shade to enjoy the beauty!