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Products > Erythrina crista-galli
Erythrina crista-galli - Cockspur Coral Tree

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Fabaceae = Pea Family
Origin: Brazil (South America)
Flower Color: Pink
Bloomtime: Spring
Synonyms: [E. laurifolia]
Height: 15-20 feet
Width: 15-20 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Drought Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Erythrina crista-galli (Cockspur Coral Tree) - A deciduous small tree from S. America (Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay) that grows to 15 to 20+ feet tall and equal width with a somewhat crooked trunk having dark furrowed bark. The leaves are composed of 3 dark green leaflets, 3 to 6 inches long by 1 1/2 inch wide, that have curved thorns on the veins on the backside and petioles. The 2 inch long by 1 inch wide flowers, usually scarlet-red but sometimes pink or red-purple, are borne singly or in groups of 2-3 in loose terminal racemes to 2 feet long from spring to summer. These inflorescences emerge from the current years growth and several flushes of flowers can appear, particularly if old flower stalks are pruned off. Plant in full sun and irrigate only occasionally. This is one of the hardiest of the coral trees and is noted that, once established, it will tolerate temperatures to 20 F without significant dieback and is root hardy down to 14 F. It is best to prune this tree at least annually to remove the past year's spent flower spikes and to encourage repeat flowering and maintain size. The common name comes from the similarity between the comb of a rooster and the broad crimson petals in the flower. The tree in the picture is growing in the Royal Botanic Garden in Melbourne, Australia. Our thanks to Brad Monroe for the shot. This tree has long been in culivation and was noted by Dr. Franceschi as growing in Santa Barbara when he arrived in 1893.  This description is based on our research and the observations we have made of this plant as it grows in containers at our nursery, in our own garden and in other gardens. We also appreciate receiving feedback of any kind from those who have additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Erythrina crista-galli.