Delonix Regia: a common ornamental tree south of Addis Ababa
I first took notice of this tree on a work trip to Ziway, about a 3-hour bus ride from Addis Ababa. I asked several people what this tree was called but the only answer I got was “ababa zaf”, which translates to ‘flower tree’, a description used for many brightly flowered trees within Ethiopia.
Flowers of Delonix Regia
After flipping through the book, Useful Trees and Shrubs of Ethiopia, by Azane Bekele-Tesemma, I found that I was looking at Delonix regia, a native tree to Madagascar. It’s likely that Delonix regia, which is more commonly known as ‘flamboyant’ (English) or ‘Dire Dawa zaf’ (Amharic), could grow well near you if you reside in the lowland tropics, have sandy soil, and are between 200 and 1,600 meters.
Delonix regia can be seen in many cities within Ethiopia. South of Addis Ababa it is associated with the city of Dire Dawa and its surrounding areas. As for uses, Delonix regia lends itself to bee forage, beautifying cities along avenues, shade, and jewelry (seeds).