Erythrina crista-galli L.

Cock's Comb Coral Tree

Small tree 4-10 m tall, older trees with soft and deeply furrowed bark. Branches dying back after fruiting (sometimes pruned back to large stumps to encourage strong flowering and fresh growth). Stems, leaf stalks and sometimes leaf midribs with flat thorns and prickles. Leaflets more or less ovate, 10-15 cm long, sometimes smaller at the end of the branches, hairless, prickly. Flowers crimson, in terminal clusters, appearing with the new leaves, opening wide, standard separated from the wings and keel, about 5 cm long; summer. Calyx generally broader than long. Stamens enclosed by the keels except for protruding anthers. Fruit pod slightly constricted between seeds. Seeds brownish black.

This is the only species grown widely in temperate climates worldwide, where it is sometimes treated as a herbaceous perennial with a woody rootstock. Often pollarded to encourage dense flowering.

Warm-temperate S America.

Deeply furrowed bark, strong thorns on shoots; near elliptic leaflets; flowers deep red, widely opening flowers in summer; calyx mostly broader than long.

VIC: Royal Bot. Gds (Western Lawn and S African bed); Terang ('Dalvui'). NSW: Sydney (Centennial Park).

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.

Hero image
Distribution map

Erythrina crista-galli 'Hendersonii'

Flowers two-toned in red and salmon pink.

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