Thursday 16 August 2018


Erythrina is a genus of flowering plants in the pea family, Fabaceae. It contains about 130 species, which are distributed in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. They are trees, growing up to 30 m in height. The generic name is derived from the Greek word ερυθρóς (erythros), meaning "red," referring to the flower colour of certain species. Particularly in horticulture, the name "coral tree" is used as a collective term for these plants. "Flame trees" is another vernacular name, but may refer to a number of unrelated plants as well.

Many species of Erythrina have bright red flowers, and this may be the origin of the common name. However, the growth of the branches can resemble the shape of sea coral rather than the colour of Corallium rubrum specifically, and this is an alternative source for the name. Illustrated here is Erythrina x sykesii a medium sized deciduous tree with knobbly grey-green bark, and numerous small triangular rose-like thorns. The bright green leaves are compound, with three large roughly triangular leaflets, the central one on a much longer stalk than the two side leaflets.

Flowers are red, about 5cm long, enclosed in a single large folded petal, in large clusters. Seed is not produced in Australia. It has been widely planted as a street and garden tree in many cities in Australia, and being a sterile hybrid, it is not capable of getting out into the bush by itself. It should therefore be a harmless garden or farm plant, but unfortunately any piece of the plant left in contact with the ground can take root. The plant is spread from fallen branches, and prunings dumped in the bush. Do not dump any part of this plant. If existing plants are being cut down, they need to be burnt or taken to land-fill where they will not re-grow. For existing plants, cut and paint or stem inject.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

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