Saturday, March 12, 2016

Coral Bean

Erythrina

* historical archive photo


Erythrina abyssinica ( Red Hot Poker Tree )
A dense, spreading, evergreen tree, reaching a maximum size of 50 x 60 feet. It is usually slow growing but has been known to reach as much as 13 x 13 feet in a single year. It is native to tropical Africa.
The trifoliate leaves are composed of 3 leaflets, up to 8 x 8 inches in size. The foliage is bright green.
The scarlet-red flowers are borne on dense, terminal racemes.
The branches are spiny.
Hardy zones 10 to 12 in partial shade on very acidic, well drained soil on a protected site.

Erythrina acanthocarpa ( Tambookie Thorn )
A very attractive, upright deciduous shrub, reaching a maximum size of 8 x 6.5 feet, that is native to the Cape Region of South Africa. The entire shrub originates from a large tuberous root.
The leaves are composed of leaflets up to 1 x 1.5 inches in size. The foliage is blue-green.
The showy, scarlet-red ( tipped bright green ) flowers are borne on clusters during late spring into early summer.
They are followed by prickly pods.
The stems are thorny.
Hardy zones 9 to 11, it is easy to grow from seed but not cuttings.

Erythrina americana
A small tree, reaching a maximum size of 42 x 58 feet with a trunk diameter of 4.5 feet. It is native to Mexico.
The flowers are orangish-red.

Erythrina berteroana
A small tree, reaching a maximum size of 33 x 23 feet.
The leaves are composed of leaflets, up to 7 x 5 ( rarely over 5 ) inches in size.
Hardy zones 11 to 12, it requires 40 + inches of average yearly rainfall.

Erythrina x bidwillii ( Bidwill Coral Tree )
The hybrid between Erythrina crista-galli & E. herbacea. It is a woody-based perennial in mild temperate climates, reaching up to 8 x 8 + feet. In the tropics it forms a fast growing, evergreen tree to as much as 25 x 50 feet.
The trifoliate leaves, up to 8 inches in length, are composed of 3 leaflets. The foliage is bright to mid green.
The showy, intense scarlet-red flowers, up to 2 inches long, are borne on dense clusters up to 36 ( rarely over 18 ) inches in length. In mild climates, the flowers appear mid-spring into early summer. In regions where it is a perennial, it blooms mid-summer into early autumn. The flowers attract hummingbirds.
The stems are often prickly.
Hardy zones 9b to 12 as a tree ( if becomes perennial at 25 F but may be grown as far north as zone 7 on protected sites ). It requires full sun on a well drained soil. In cooler climates it should be planted on a warm sunny site such as a south facing wall and mulched deeply during the first winter.

* photos taken on Oct 21 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC


Erythrina caffra ( Kaffirboom )
A fast growing, dense, massive, spreading, semi-evergreen tree, reaching a maximum size of 100 x 60 ( rarely over 55 x 50 ) feet with a trunk diameter of 5 feet. It is native to South Africa. Some records include: fastest growth rate - 4 feet.
The trifoliate leaves are composed of 3 leaflets, up to 7 x 7 inches in size. The foliage is bright green.
The intense orange-red flowers are borne on dense, terminal racemes, up to 6 x 6 inches in size. They appear with the emerging foliage during late spring into early summer.
The orangish bark is smooth. The branches are often thorny.
Hardy zones 9 to 11. It is very drought tolerant.

Erythrina chiapasana
A deciduous small tree, reaching a maximum height of 30 feet, that is native to scrubby forest in mountains from southern Mexico to Guatemala.
The narrow, deep red flower are borne on upright clusters from mid-winter to mid-spring before the foliage emerges. The trunk and branches are very prickly.
Hardy zones 9 to 11.

Erythrina coralloides ( Naked Coral Tree )
A fast growing, upright, deciduous, small tree, reaching a maximum size of 30 x 40 feet, that is native from far southern Arizona to Oaxaca State in Mexico. Some records include: fastest growth rate - 4 feet; 8 years - 15 x 15 feet. It makes a great, shade or patio tree.
The leaves, up to 10 inches in length, are composed of heart-shaped leaflets, up to 4.5 inches in length. The foliage turns to yellow during autumn.
The hairy, intense deep red flowers, up to 2 inches in length, are borne on racemes, up to 12 inches long. They appear mid-spring into early summer after the foliage drops.
They are followed by pods, up to 4 inches in length, that contain scarlet-red beans inside.
The trunk and branches are prickly.
Hardy zones 9 to 12 ( tolerates as low as 20 F ). It may be grown in zone 8 as a perennial.

Erythrina crista-galli ( Corkspur Coral Tree )
A fast growing, massive, deciduous to evergreen tree, reaching a maximum size of 100 x 100 ( rarely over 55 x 50 ) feet with a trunk diameter of 6.6 feet. It is native to South Africa. Older trees are very often gnarled in appearance. Some records include: fastest growth rate - 8 ( rarely over 3.5 ) feet. Older trees produce dense shade. It is moderately long-lived, persisting up to 140 years or more. The largest in California is at the Sacramento State Capital. This is the national flower of both Argentina and Uruguay.
The leaves, up to 12 inches in length, are composed of leaflets, up to 6 ( rarely over 4 ) inches in length. The foliage is glossy mid-green.
The orangish-red flowers, up to 2.5 inches in length, are composed of racemes up to 28 inches in length, during spring and summer, often continuing sporadically until late autumn.
The bark is reddish-brown.
Hardy zones 8 to 12, it is very drought tolerant but is not salt tolerant. It often puts so much energy into blooming that dieback occurs after..resulting in hard cutting back of the tree. Soak seeds in water for 48 hours before planting.

* historical archive photo


Erythrina falcata ( Brazilian Coral Tree )
A medium-sized tree, that is native to the Atlantic Rainforest region of Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina. Some records include: largest on record - 66 x 70 feet with a trunk diameter of 5 feet. A very large tree grows in Alice Keck Park, Santa Barbara, California.
The pinkish-red flowers are borne on racemes.

Erythrina flabelliformis ( Southwestern Coral Bean )
A spiny, deciduous, large shrub or small tree, reaching a maximum size of 15 x 12 feet, that is native to the southwestern U.S. ( southern Arizona and southern New Mexico ). Some records include: largest on record - 50 x 18 feet with a trunk diameter of 3.5 feet.
The trifoliate leaves are composed of 3 broad-triangular leaflets, up to 3 x 4.5 inches in size. The foliage is gray-green.
The scarlet-red flowers, up to 4 inches in length, are borne on showy, large clusters during spring.
They are followed by leathery pods up to 10 inches in length, that enclose the bright red seeds. The seeds are poisonous and absolutely should never be eaten.
Hardy zones 9b to 10 ( the stems freeze at 24 F ).

Erythrina fusca ( Purple Coral Tree )
A fast growing, deciduous tree, reaching around 60 feet, that is native to tropical Africa, Madagascar, tropical southeast Asia and northern Australia. Some records include: largest on record - 85 x 80 feet with a trunk diameter of 3.5 feet.
The leaves are composed of leaflets up to 5.5 x 5 inches in size. The flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds, typical of Erythrina.
The beige to orange flowers are borne in clusters up to 10 inches long.
They are followed by pods, up to 8 inches in length, that include deep brown seeds.
The olive-brown trunk and branches are spiny.
Hardy zones 10 to 12 ( 8 & 9 as a perennial ). It is tolerant of flooding, salt air and water.

Erythrina herbacea ( Coral Bean )
A shrubby perennial, reaching up to 10 ( rarely over 5 ) feet in height, that is native to sandy woods, wet meadows and swamp forests of the southeastern U.S. ( from central Texas to North Carolina; south to southern Florida...also scattered in Oklahoma ) and Mexico. In mild climates, especially in Mexico, it may become a large shrub to small tree, up to 20 feet in height. Some records include: 2 years - 9 x 8 feet; largest on record - 32 x 30 feet with a trunk diameter of 1.1 foot. Where it is a perennial, the rootstock is very large and woody.
The leaves, up to 8 inches in length, are composed of 3 broadly-triangular leaflets, up to 5 inches in length. The bright green foliage persists late during autumn. The leafstalks are prickly.
The intense scarlet-red, tubular flowers, up to 3 inches long, are borne on plumes over a period lasting a few months during mid to late summer.
They are followed by leathery pods, up to 6 inches in length, that contain scarlet-red seeds.
The stems are green.
Hardy zones 6 or 7 to 10 ( perennial north of 10 ) in full sun to partial shade on just about any well drained soil. In zone 6, it should be planted on a very protected site such as a south facing wall and mulched deeply during winter. It is very drought tolerant and moderately salt tolerant. Cut to ground during very early spring if winter damage occurs. It is easy to grow from seed which make a good 1 gallon size plant in as little as 8 weeks.

* photos taken by Mark A. Garland @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database


Erythrina humeana ( Natal Coral Tree )
A deciduous ( evergreen in tropics ), small tree reaching a maximum size of 40 x 60 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 feet. It is moderate growing, rarely to as much as 3.5 feet per year.
The leaves are composed of leaflets, up to 8 ( rarely over 5 ) inches in length. The foliage is glossy deep green.
The scarlet-red, tubular flowers, up to 3 inches long, are borne on narrow, dense, terminal racemes, up to 24 inches in length, during summer.
They are followed by purple to black pods.
The stems and pale gray trunk are prickly.
Hardy zones 9 to 11.

Erythrina latissima ( Broad-leaved coral tree )
A slow growing tree, reaching a maximum height of 23 feet, that is native to eastern Africa. It makes a great patio tree.
The leaves are composed of leaflets up to 10 x 13 inches in size. The foliage is woolly at first.
The intense orange-red to scarlet-red flowers appear winter into early summer.
They are followed by pods that contain orange-red and black seeds.
The bark is corky and fissured.
Hardy zones 10 to 12.

Erythrina lysistemon ( Transvaal Kaffirboom )
A fast growing, semi-evergreen tree that is native to eastern and southern Africa. Some records include: 2 years - 6 feet; 4 years - 8 feet; largest on record - 60 x 40 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 feet. It makes an excellent street tree.
The pinnate leaves, up to 9 inches in length, are composed of ovate leaflets, up to 7 x 7 inches in size.
The intense scarlet-red flowers are borne on compact, terminal racemes up to 8 inches in length, during summer.
They are followed by narrow, woody pods that contain orangish-red seeds.
Hardy zones 9 to 12 ( tolerating as low as 20 F ), it hate wet soil. Extremely heat tolerant, it even thrives in Yuma, Arizona.

Erythrina poeppigiana
A very fast growing ( up to 4 feet per year ), large tree that is native to Central America and South America. Some records include: largest on record - 120 x 80 feet with a trunk diameter of 6.5 feet.
The leaves, up to 12 inches in length, are composed of leaflets, up to 8 x 8 inches in size.
The flowers are borne on clusters, up to 8 inches in length.
The bark is grayish-brown.
Hardy zones 10 to 12 on acidic soil, it requires 40 + inches of average yearly rainfall and is tolerant of wet soil.

Erythrina sandwicensis ( Wiliwili )
A fast growing, small tree, native to dry rainshadow forests of Hawaii and Tahiti. Some records include: first year - 4 feet; largest on record - 100 x 100 feet with a trunk diameter of 5 feet. It is endangered in the wild.
The leaves, up to 12 inches in length, are composed of leaflets up to 4 x 6 inches in size.
The flowers, up to 2 inches long, are white to orangish-yellow.
The trunk and branches are covered in black spines.
Hardy zones 10 to 12, requiring 20 + inches of average yearly rainfall. It is drought and wind tolerant but competes poorly with turf grass. The seeds should be soaked in water for several hours before sowing. The sprouts appear in a week and the initial growth is fast.

Erythrina schliebenii
One of the worlds rarest trees; fewer than 50 trees remain in its native southeastern Tanzania.

Erythrina speciosa
A fast growing, erect, bushy, deciduous, small tree, that is native to the Caribbean and Brazil.
The trifoliate leaves are composed of 3 leaflets, up to 8 x 9 inches in size.
The hairy, deep red flowers are borne on racemes during spring. The flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds.
The stems are prickly.
Hardy zones 9 to 12 ( tolerating as low as 25 F ) in partial shade.

Erythrina stricta ( Straight Coral Bean )
A large tree, reaching a maximum size of 120 x 40 ( rarely over 40 ) feet with a trunk diameter of 2 feet. It is native to Nepal, Tibet, India and Yunnan & Guangxi Provinces of China. It is also native to Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
The trifoliate leaves are composed of broadly-triangular to nearly rounded leaflets up to 7.5 x 10.5 inches in size.
The red flowers, up to 1.8 inches long, are borne on racemes up to 6 inches in length, during mid-spring to mid-summer.
They are followed by pods up to 5 x 0.6 inches in size.
Hardy zones 9 to 10.

Erythrina suberosa
A fast growing, medium-sized tree, reaching up to 50 feet. Some records include: 40 years - trunk diameter of 3.3 feet; fastest growth rate - 0.5 inch diameter increase per year.
The leaves are composed of 3 leaflets, up to 8 x 8 inches in size.
Hardy zone 11 ( tolerating 36 F ). It is not prone to insect pests or disease. The roots fix their own nitrogen.

* photo taken on Jan 2007 in Santiago, Chile


Erythrina x sykesii
A fast growing, domed, deciduous, small tree, reaching a maximum size of 60 x 60 feet.
The leaves, up to 10 inches in length, are composed of leaflets, up to 8 inches in length.
The scarlet-red flowers are borne winter into spring.
The trunk and branches are armed with curved prickles.
Hardy zones 9 to 12 ( tolerating as low as 20 F ), only lesser branches are killed at 18 F with the main trunk and roots being somewhat hardier. It is unfortunately brittle and can break apart easily during storms. It an be grown from cuttings and is very tolerant of salt air and poor soil.

* photo of unknown internet source


Erythrina variegata ( Indian Coral Bean )
A very fast growing, sturdy, dense, domed and often gnarled, medium-sized tree that is native to tropical east Africa, India, far southeastern China, southeast Asia and the Philippines. Some records include: largest on record - 90 x 90 feet with a trunk diameter of 6 feet. Short-lived, it can sometimes persist as long as 110 years. Some records include: 1st year - 12 x 3.5 feet during the first year from unrooted cuttings; 3 years - 25 feet; 15 years - trunk diameter of 2 feet; 20 years - 66 feet. It makes a great shade tree.
The trifoliate leaves are composed of 3 broadly-ovate to nearly rounded leaflets, up to 12 x 12 inches in size. The leaf rachis is up to 8 inches in length. The mid-green foliage is often variegated with yellow and bright green.
The scarlet-red ( rarely white ) flowers, up to 3 inches long, are borne on dense, terminal clusters, up to 12 inches long, during winter.
The bark is gray-green. The branches are armed with large prickles.
Hardy zones 9 to 12 in full sun on just about any well drained soil. It is very drought and salt tolerant, it can also tolerate up to 2 weeks of flooding.

* photo taken on Jan 11 2011 @ Deerfield Beach Arboretum, Florida

* photos taken on Nov 2009 in Deerfield Beach, Florida
* photo taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014


'Alba'
White flowers; otherwise identical to species.

Erythrina velutina
A large spreading tree that is native to Hispanolia and tropical South America. Some records include: largest on record: trunk diameter of 3.8 feet at 6 feet above huge butressed base.

Erythrina vespertilio ( Bat's Wing Coral Bean )
A fast growing, upright, narrow, large, deciduous tree that is native to tropical northern Australia. Some records include: largest on record - 100 x 80 feet with a trunk diameter of 4 feet.
The trifoliate leaves are composed of 3 pointed, wedge-shaped leaflets up to 8 x 5 inches in size. They appear during spring and early summer after the foliage drops.
The scarlet-red flowers, up to 1.5 inches long, are borne on loose terminal racemes up to 10 inches in length.
The rough bark is whitish-gray. The branches are prickly.
It was used as a sedative by the Australian aboriginals.
Hardy zones 9 to 12

Erythrina zeyheri ( Prickly Cardinal )
A small shrub, reaching up to 3 x 3 feet, that is native to South Africa. It originated from a massive root stock.
The leaves are composed of diamond-shaped leaflets, up to 10 x 10 inches in size. The deeply-veined foliage is thorny beneath.
The tubular red flowers are borne on racemes.
They are followed by smooth woody beans that contain orange-red seeds.
Hardy zones 8b to 12.

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