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Erythrina crista-galli - L.

Common Name Coral Tree, Crybabytree
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards The plant contains alkaloids that have powerful narcotic and purgative effects[200]. The seeds of all members of this genus are said to be poisonous[274].
Habitats Not known
Range S. America - Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Erythrina crista-galli Coral Tree, Crybabytree


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Llez
Erythrina crista-galli Coral Tree, Crybabytree
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pablo-flores

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Erythrina crista-galli is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 2 m (6ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;

Edible Uses

None known

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.
Narcotic  Purgative

The plant is narcotic and purgative[200].

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

Nitrogen Fixer

Cultivation details

Requires a moderately fertile well-drained soil in a very sunny position[200]. Best if given the protection of an east, south or south-west facing wall[200]. Plants are not very hardy outdoors in Britain though the rootstock can tolerate temperatures down to about -10°c provided the stem bases are thickly mulched with organic matter such as leaf litter or sawdust and covered with bracken[200]. The top growth will be killed by the frost but new growth from the rootstock will flower in late summer[200]. A plant growing outdoors at the RHS Gardens in Wisley, Surrey, grows and flowers well in a warm sheltered corner[260]. Its root is mulched each winter to protect it from the cold[260]. A form called 'Compacta' is said to flower more freely than the type[233]. Plants take 3 - 4 years to flower from seed[200]. Plants are difficult to establish, taking some years to flower[202]. 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[200].

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Seed - pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[200]. Overwinter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer. Heeled cuttings of young growth in the spring in a frame[200]. Overwinter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Erythrina acanthocarpa Shrub2.0 8-11  LMHSNM01 
Erythrina edulisBalu. Andean tree beanTree10.0 10-12 FLMHNDM323
Erythrina fuscaCoral Bean, Swamp ImmortelleTree15.0 10-12 MLMHNDM224
Erythrina herbaceaCardinal Spear, RedcardinalPerennial1.0 7-10  LMHSNM11 
Erythrina humeanaDwarf Kaffirboom, Dwarf erythrinaShrub4.0 8-11  LMHSNM01 
Erythrina poeppigianaMountain Immortelle. Madre de CacaoTree25.0 10-12 FLMHNDM103
Erythrina sandwicensisWiliwili, Hawaiian coral treeTree10.0 10-12 FLMHNDM022
Erythrina subumbransDadap. December treeTree20.0 10-12 FLMHNDM223
Erythrina vernaMulunguTree12.0 10-12 FLMHNDM042
Erythrina x bidwillii Shrub4.0 7-10  LMHSNM01 
Erythrina zeyheriPrickly CardinalShrub1.0 8-11  LMHSNM01 

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Carol Hay   Wed Feb 23 23:29:30 2005

Your site says that a tree takes 3-4 years to flower from seed. I beg to differ. I germinated a seed from my Mother's parent tree in Jamaica, West Indies. I live in Grand Cayman. The tree is not yet a year old and is literally covered in a cluster of blooms. I am estatic because I was told this would not happen for at least five years. The tree is already 4 ft tall. Which brings me to another question - how long will it take to seed? I have people lined up to get seedlings! Also, one of the sites I hit (I can't remember which one) said that you could eat the flowers. Other sites say it's toxic? Who is right?

david Nicholls   Wed Jan 23 2008

New Scientist Magazine reports that a protein from this plant binds exclusively to surface of pain neurons. When combined with botox it has potential as a super-pain-killer(19 April 2003, page 14).

joli.pecht@mxminc.com   Tue Mar 21 2006

I would like to order a coral tree. Do you know where I could purchase one?

Vithal Nadkarni   Tue Mar 6 2007

Hi. I am growing this beauty (in the form of a graft on a root stock of the Indian coral tree (Erythrina indica)) in my garden and it has taken a few months to stablise, only to put lovely shoots in this spring. However, there's a WARNING: the eeds of this beautiful tree are TOXIC - poisonous. Vithal Nadkarni, Senior Assistant Editor, The Economic Times Mumbai, India

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