In Arizona, where winter visitors often garden in small spaces and want
seasonal color, this patio tree has become a fast favorite. Caesalpinia
cacalaco can either be left unpruned to grow as a large shrub, or
trained into a small tree to 15-18 feet tall and wide. Flowering
can start Thanksgiving and proceed for many weeks producing large spikes of clear yellow flowers at the branch
tips, followed by attractive copper-colored seedpods. Seed pods
have been used as a dye.
native to tropical areas of Sinaloa, Oaxaca and Vera Cruz in Mexico, and suffers frost damage when
temperatures drop below 20° F. In warm climates this plant is evergreen
with glossy green compound leaves. Younger branches are reddish-brown,
and are usually adorned with rose-like thorns. The thorns are not as
prominent on older trunks and branches. Cascalote grows best in full sun
and well-drained soil, and is easily propagated from seed. It is fairly
slow but speeds up with moisture. USDA Zone 9.