An exotic-looking, but easy to grow plant, the bird-of-paradise shrub (Caesalpinia gilliesii) is a popular, drought resistant highlight to many gardens in this area. It is closely related to another plant that is gaining in popularity: the red bird-of-paradise shrub or pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima). When I first saw the beautiful yellow bird-of-paradise shrub in nurseries, it was labeled "Texas bird-of-paradise," a sure way to entice proud native gardeners.
I have several plants which are about five years old, all started from seeds from a plant growing in a garden near Waco, which have yet to bloom. They are growing well, but slowly and are about two to three feet tall, having germinated easily from seeds just pressed into the ground. This past spring I also started several pride of Barbados plants the same way. They are all growing well, and slightly faster than the previous species did.
Although considered to be very frost tender, the deciduous bird-of-paradise shrub seems to weather freezes with no trouble. The plants do well in full sun to partial shade and I am looking forward to the day when mine finally are old enough to bloom.