I have tried to plant species in my little yard here in Palm Springs that are not the most common landscape plants but I do struggle sometimes between common sense and horticultural snobbery. When I planted the yard two years ago, I planted a yellow version of the Mexican bird of paradise, Caesalpinia gilliesii. Its a pretty shrub that produces delicate yellow flowers with bright red stamens. It has grown well but flowers just spasmodically and I find myself disappointed with it and craving the bright orange one that taunts me at every street corner.
Having been here most of the summer, I have seen that the orange species, Caesalpinia pulcherrima just goes on flowering for months with these wonderful fiery blooms that also attract the humming birds. It grows anywhere, tolerates hard pruning in winter and always makes me smile. It's a member of the pea family and grows well in most frost-free locations hence its widespread use. It is not related to Strelitzia regina also called bird of paradise. Other common names for it include peacock flower, dwarf poinciana, pride of Barbados and in Hawaii Ohai Ali'i.
So do I eat horticultural humble pie and plant one or remain an elitist and plant something else obscure?