Erythrina caffra Thunb.

South African Coral Tree

Large deciduous tree 10-15 m or more tall. Bark smooth, grey, soft and spongy, with scattered thorns. Leaflets without prickles, deltoid, glands prominent at the base of each leaflet. Flowers orange-red (rarely cream), standard relatively short and broad, about 4-5.5 cm long, about 3 cm wide, strongly curved, keel about 2-2.5 cm long, sepals irregularly 2-lipped, deeply split, densely brown-hairy; spring. Fruit pods bead-like, with extended narrow constrictions between the seeds; seeds red with a black patch (hilum).

E South Africa.

Large tree with smooth trunk covered with scattered thorns; flowers orange-red or cream with standard strongly curved; fruit pods bead-like, contracted between the seeds which are bright red. This species has sometimes been mistakenly identified as the closely related E. lysistemon which has narrower standards (about 2 cm wide), keel petals about 1-1.8 cm long and flowers that tend to lie along the stem rather than spread away from it.

VIC: Burnley (College, 24 m in 1989, ptd 1863); Melbourne (Royal Bot. Gds 'A' Gate).

Source: Spencer, R. (2002). Fabaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Distribution map
kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Rosanae
order      Fabales
family       Fabaceae
genus        Erythrina L.