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Erythrina subumbrans - (Hassk.) Merr.

Common Name Dadap. December tree
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the seed, bark and stems of plants in this genus usually contain alkaloids that are toxic in all but small amounts[K ].
Habitats Moist valleys, near streams, in open locations and secondary forest at low and medium elevations[303 ].
Range E. Asia - China, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Erythrina subumbrans Dadap. December tree

wikimedia.org Siddarth Machado
Erythrina subumbrans Dadap. December tree
wikimedia.org Siddarth Machado


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Erythrina subumbrans is a deciduous Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Birds.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Corallodendron lithospermum (Blume ex Miq.) Kuntze Erythrina holoserica Kurz Erythrina lithosperma Miq. Erythrina secundiflora Hassk. Erythrina sumatrana Miq. Hypaphorus subumbrans Hassk.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Stem
Edible Uses:

Very young leaves are steamed and eaten in salads[303 , 701 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

A decoction of the bark is taken to the treat spleen afflictions[303 ]. A decoction of the leaves is used as a treatment for coughs[303 ]. The pounded young leaves are used as a poultice for women soon after giving birth and as a treatment for headache[303 ]. The juice of the leaves is used as an eye-wash[303 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


Agroforestry Uses: Grown as a shade tree in cocoa, coffee and tea plantations. It is also used as a shelter crop for taro (Colocasia esculenta) and as live support for yams (Dioscorea spp.), betel nut (Piper betle), pepper (Piper nigrum) and vanilla (Vanilla planivolia) vines[303 ]. Loppings of the plant provide a quickly decomposing green manure, containing per 100 g dry matter: N 1.5-3 g, P 0.2-0.35 g, K 1-2 g[310 ]. The tree is planted as a pioneer species in northern Thailand in reforestation projects to restore native woodland - it is planted in degraded woodland and open areas in a mix with various other species that all have the ability to grow fast; produce dense, weed-suppressing crowns; and attract seed-dispersing wildlife, particularly birds and bats[998 ]. Other Uses The wood is soft, light and coarse-grained, the texture coarse and uneven[310 ]. The sapwood is not differentiated from the heartwood, which is light straw-coloured[310 ]. It is utilized in canoe and raft building[303 , 310 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Crop shade  Agroforestry Services: Living fence  Agroforestry Services: Living trellis  Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen  Fodder: Bank  Management: Coppice  Management: Standard  Regional Crop

A plant of low to medium elevations in the tropics, where it is usually found at elevations below 1,500 metres[303 ]. It is found in areas where the mean annual rainfall is in the range 500 - 2,000mm and there is a maximum of 4 months with less than 100mm rainfall[303 ]. The mean annual temperature is above 22°c[303 ]. The trees are fairly tolerant of wind, unless branches have been damaged by borers[303 ]. Often grown as an ornamental or to provide shade in plantations, the tree has occasionally escaped from cultivation and become naturalized. It is classified as invasive in some Pacific islands[305 ]. Thornless forms generally produce fewer flowers and fruit than wild forms which have spines[310 ]. The cultivated thornless forms may reach an age of 40 - 50 years, but often die earlier because of diseases and pests[303 ]. Pruning and pollarding are very well tolerated[303 ]. Where the tree is pruned, it is sometimes used as a medium level shade tree, interplanted with taller shade trees like Paraserianthes falcataria or Grevillea robusta[303 ]. Elsewhere, it is not pruned and is used for high shade, interplanted with Leucaena leucocephala to provide the low shade[303 ]. In Western Samoa, yam vines planted in a circle around a tree are allowed to cover the canopy and suppress its growth[303 ]. The flowers contain large quantities of nectar and are a major source of food for birds during the dry season[310 ]. The various species of Erythrina can all, as far as is known, be intercrossed to produce fertile hybrids[310 ]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[755 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Agroforestry Services: Crop shade  Plants providing crop shade especially trees.
  • Agroforestry Services: Living fence  Simply managed rows of shrubs and trees.
  • Agroforestry Services: Living trellis  Plants to physically support other crops.
  • Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen  Plants that contribute to nitrogen fixation include the legume family – Fabaceae.
  • Fodder: Bank  Fodder banks are plantings of high-quality fodder species. Their goal is to maintain healthy productive animals. They can be utilized all year, but are designed to bridge the forage scarcity of annual dry seasons. Fodder bank plants are usually trees or shrubs, and often legumes. The relatively deep roots of these woody perennials allow them to reach soil nutrients and moisture not available to grasses and herbaceous plants.
  • Management: Coppice  Cut to the ground repeatedly - resprouting vigorously. Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Fresh seeds, and those harvested within 3 - 6 months of maturity, can be sown without any special treatment. Germination rates are generally high and are often 100%. Seeds over 6 months old may take between 12 - 18 months to germinate due to their hard seed coat which becomes tougher with age. Soaking them in hot water, or abrading their seedcoat, can reduce this time considerably. They may be added to water which has just fallen below boiling point and left in the water as it cools for a minimum of one hour, but up to 12 hours for seed 3 years or more old, and then sown in the usual way. Alternatively, file the seeds with a slender triangular file. A groove can be made through the sides of the seed coat with care so as to avoid damaging the cotyledons or embryo, which usually results in the death of the seeds from fungal attack or in malformed and weakened seedlings[564 ]. Seeds of most species produce strong seedlings from healthy seeds in almost any well-drained soil, with a minimum of trouble from damping-off disease[564 ]. The plant can be propagated by seed, but seeds from thornless trees generally produce trees with thorns[303 ]. Large cuttings, even if they are 25 cm in diameter, usually root easily[303 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Chengkering, Coral tree, Dadap lenga, Dadap lesang, Dadap limit, Dadap lisa, Dadap minyak, Dadap rangrang, Dadap ri, Dadap srep, Dedap batik, Dedap, Dhadhak, Gatae palagi, Pohon dadap rangrang, Tawng lang, Tawng pa, Vong hot-da, Ye-kathit

Asia, China, Cook Islands, East Timor, Fiji, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Niue, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Philippines, Samoa, SE Asia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

It is classified as invasive in some Pacific islands[305 ].

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Hassk.) Merr.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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