Harare’s Fiery Flamboyants

The image of the flamboyant trees (Delonix regia) in full bloom was taken in November 2005 on Harare’s Blakiston Street.  Flamboyant trees abound in Blakiston Street and Lawson Avenue in Milton Park.  They are between fifty to sixty years old.  Regrettably, old age and termites have taken their toll.  The trees grow to heights of about thirty to forty feet.  Some branches grow heavier and thicker than others and are a threat to durawalls and traffic.

Regrettably over the years many trees have fallen to the attack of termites.  The tree below, photographed December 2017, has a branch lying across a cycle path and main road.  The trunk is quite hollow.  In the past the municipality attempted to replace the old dying trees.

On one occasion I had to call in a tree cutter or tree feller to cut one branch that was threatening to break off do to sheer weight.  Due to the shortage of fire wood this particular tree, outside my gate, has been demolished.  Recently one branch on a tree across the road collapsed, blocking the tarred road, forcing motorists to drive around it. On examination it was found that the entire trunk was hollow and had been eaten away by termites.  The municipality has replanted a few trees, but has not followed the exercise through.  In 2005 Blakiston Street was a magnificent sight with the trees in full bloom.  Today perhaps a third of them have vanished.  There are still patches where there is an unbroken row of trees.

The damaged is not so severe along Lawson Avenue where another magnificent view is available in season.

At one time it was suggested that flamboyant trees be planted along the highway leading to Harare’s Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport – what a greeting that would be for future visitors to Zimbabwe to enjoy.

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