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Erythrina lysistemon

Family: Papilionoideae – Leguminosae (Pea subfamily – Pod-bearing family)

Common names: Coral Tree (E); umSinsi (Z); Koraalboom (A);

Native to: Southern Africa
Tree
A deciduous tree which bears distinctive clusters of bright orange-red flowers at the beginning of spring.

Erythrina lysistemon

DECIDUOUS

FULL SUN

SEMI FROST HARDY

MEDIUM WATER REQUIREMENTS

MEDIUM GROWER

ATTRACTS BIRDS

ATTRACTS INSECTS

FLOWER COLOUR:

AVERAGE SIZE:

10m x 8m
FLOWERING TIME:
J F M A M J J A S O N D
FRUITING TIME:
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Erythrina lysistemon

DESCRIPTION

An attractive deciduous tree with a dark grey bark. The trifoliate leaves are light green.  The tree bears beautiful, scarlet flowers bone in short dense heads on long stalks.  The fruit is a slender, black pod that is constricted between the seeds.  The pods split open to release bright red, hard cased seeds with a black eye.

NATURAL HABITAT & DISTRIBUTION
Scrub forest, woodlands and grasslands.
WILDLIFE & ECOLOGICAL BENEFITS
The flowers are rich in nectar and attract a variety of birds such as Bulbuls, Sunbirds, Mousebirds and White-eyes.
The dead wood is soft and is often excavated by birds that nest in hollows like barbets, hornbills and woodpeckers.
Hollow trunks are often used to house a swarm of bees.
WATER REQUIREMENTS
Water moderately when young. Avoid watering in winter when the tree is dormant.
MAINTENANCE
Low maintenance.
LANDSCAPING USES
It makes a wonderful avenue tree or focal point in a large garden. It is particularly useful for attracting wildlife to the garden as the flowers attract nectar feeding birds. The soft wood makes it a favourable home for birds such as Barbets and Hornbills that excavate cavities in trees for nesting holes.
GARDEN THEMES
Bushveld, Country, Rockery, Woodland
FRUIT
The fruit is a green, segmented pod that becomes dark brown as it ripens. It splits open to release the seeds which may remain on the tree for months.
SEED
The seeds are small, shiny and bright red with a black spot on one side. The seeds drop around the base of the tree and are often transported by birds to other locations.
SPINES
The trunk and branches often have short, hooked thorns or prickles that offer protection from herbivores.
CULTIVATION
Easily propagated from seed or truncheons taken in spring.
CAUTION
The leaves, bark and seeds are poisonous. The seeds are particularly toxic for children and can cause shortness of breath, cyanosis (when the skin gets a blue tint because there’s not enough oxygen in the blood), weakness and light-headedness.

2 Responses

  1. Hi Sandra

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    In answer to your question on the best time to plant, there’s a Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.”

    Erythrina lysistemon requires a large space and has a very aggressive root system, so needs to be at least 10 metres from any structure. Their spectacular spring display makes them a fantastic plant to use for a focal point in a garden. It is best suited for a summer rainfall climate.

    It is deciduous, so will lose its leaves in winter. It is best to avoid watering it in winter to allow it to go dormant. We’ve found that trees that receive very little water in winter produce an abundance of flowers in spring whereas trees that are continually watered in winter may not lose their leaves and may not produce any flowers.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  2. when is the best time of the year to plant the erythrina lysistemon. and also where. can one plant this type of tree?

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