Firework Effects

Learn to Speak Pyro like a Pro with these Firework Effects definitions.

As defined by Wikipedia…

Bengal fire

Bengal fire or Bengal light produces a steady, vivid, blue-colored light.[39] It is often made using combinations of potassium nitrate and copper compounds.[40][41]



A cake is a cluster of individual tubes linked by fuse that fires a series of aerial effects. Tube diameters can range in size from 1⁄4 to 4 inches (6 to 100 mm), and a single cake can have over 1,000 shots. The variety of effects within individual cakes is often such that they defy descriptive titles and are instead given cryptic names such as “Bermuda Triangle”, “Pyro Glyphics”, “Summer Storm”, “Waco Wakeup”, and “Poisonous Spider”, to name a few. Others are simply quantities of 2.5″-4″ shells fused together in single-shot tubes.



The chrysanthemum has a spherical break of colored stars with a very short burn time, then followed by crackling.



Crossette is an effect characterized by a “star” which quickly shoots outward in four directions from the initial comet. When multiple crossette shells are fired simultaneously, the result is a mass of criss-crossing trails, hence the name “crossette“. Each specialized star in a crossette shell contains a small shot hole that effectively divides the star into four sides. The shot hole is packed with an explosive powder. When the charge ignites, the star splits into four segments that propel outward. Once limited to silver or gold effects, colored crossettes such as red, green, or white are now very common.



Essentially, the dahlia is the same as a peony shell, but with fewer and larger stars. These stars travel a longer-than-usual distance from the shell break before burning out. For instance, if a 3″ peony shell is made with a star size designed for a 6″ shell, it is then considered a dahlia. Some dahlia shells are cylindrical rather than spherical to allow for larger stars.



The diadem is a type of Peony or Chrysanthemum with a center cluster of non-moving stars, usually of a strobing effect.


Falling leaf

A mine-shaped explosion that free falls to the ground.



Shells that have the property of launching the flaming debris in all different directions are known as fish. Also, what gives them their identities are the flares swarming in random directions.


Ground bloom flower

A minute barrel-like figure that, when ignited, releases a small flare with an ongoing good thrust in order to rapidly spin and cause the illusion that it’s coming from all angles. As it spins, the color of the flame will usually change and often ends with an orange flame color (color of a burning hydrocarbon in oxygen).



Named for the shape of its break, this shell has stars that leave behind a short tail.



Kamuro is a Japanese word meaning “Boys haircut” which is what this shell looks like when fully exploded in the air. A dense burst of glittering silver or gold stars which leave a heavy glitter trail and are very shiny in the night’s sky.



A mine (aka. pot à feu) is a ground firework that expels stars and/or other garnitures into the sky. Shot from a mortar like a shell, a mine consists of a canister with the lift charge on the bottom with the effects placed on top. Mines can project small reports, serpents, small shells, as well as just stars. Although mines up to 12 inches (300 mm) in diameter appear on occasion, they are usually between 3 and 5 inches (76 and 127 mm) in diameter.


Multi-break shells

A large shell containing several smaller shells of various sizes and types. The initial burst scatters the shells across the sky before they explode. Also called a bouquet shell. When a shell contains smaller shells of the same size and type, the effect is usually referred to as “Thousands”. Very large bouquet shells (up to 48 in [120 cm]) are frequently used in Japan.



A shell containing a relatively few large comet stars arranged in such a way as to burst with large arms or tendrils, producing a palm tree-like effect. Proper palm shells feature a thick rising tail that displays as the shell ascends, thereby simulating the tree trunk to further enhance the “palm tree” effect. One might also see a burst of color inside the palm burst (given by a small insert shell) to simulate coconuts.



The most commonly seen shell type, the peony has a spherical break of colored stars that burn without a tail effect.



A shell with stars specially arranged to create a ring like shape. Variations include smiley faces, hearts, and clovers.


Roman candle

A Roman candle is a long tube containing several large stars which fire at a regular interval. These are commonly arranged in fan shapes or crisscrossing shapes, at a closer proximity to the audience. Some larger Roman candles contain small shells (bombettes) rather than stars.



A shell intended to produce a loud report rather than a visual effect. Salute shells usually contain flash powder, producing a quick flash followed by a very loud report. Salute shells can be anywhere from 1″ to 5″ in diameter. Titanium may be added to the flash powder mix to produce a cloud of bright sparks around the flash. Salutes are commonly used in large quantities during finales to create intense noise and brightness. They are often cylindrical in shape to allow for a larger payload of flash powder, but ball shapes are common and cheaper as well. Salutes are also called Maroons. Another type of salute is the lampare. A lampare shell has the flash powder used in a regular salute, but is filled with a flammable liquid. When the shell explodes it has a loud report with a fireball.



A shell containing a fast burning tailed or charcoal star that is burst very hard so that the stars travel in a straight and flat trajectory before slightly falling and burning out. This appears in the sky as a series of radial lines much like the legs of a spider.



A series of quickly flashing stars that are used in peony shells and mines.


Time rain

The time rain is an effect created by large, slow-burning stars within a shell that leave a trail of large glittering sparks behind and make a sizzling noise. The “time” refers to the fact that these stars burn away gradually, as opposed to the standard brocade “rain” effect where a large amount of glitter material is released at once.



Like a horsetail, but the stars burn for a long time.



The willow is similar to the chrysanthemum, but has less of an ongoing flare after ignition of the shell. In addition, the flame trails gradually extinguish, and in doing so, falls creating a willow branch-like effect.


Study these Fireworks Effects and Learn to Speak Pyro like a Pro, so you can share your useless knowledge of Fireworks Effects with others.


  1. Videos would be a great addition, I’ll wager others would find them useful.

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