One of our favorite large Coral Trees. This medium to large semi-deciduous tree has a spreading form to 30 feet tall by as wide. The bright red flowers are showy fall through spring but are most noticable while the tree is deciduous in late winter to early spring. As it is a hybrid it does not produce seed like many other Coral Trees. It prefers full sun and deep watering. This tree is a bit hardier than the more common Erythrina caffra. It will withstand temperatures down in the low 20's degrees F for short durations without damage to the harder wood. Our large tree in the nursery had damage to large branches but not the trunk at 18 F in the freeze of 1990.
Erythrina x sykesii origins are a little unclear. The oldest known plant is in the Brisbane Botanic Garden in Australia where it has been growing since the beginning of the 20th century. Unrelated to the naturally occurring Erythrina in Australia (E. variegata, E. vespertilio and E. phlebocarpa), this cultivar has become a common sight throughout Australia. The name "sykesii" honors William Sykes, a New Zealand botanist, who first called attention to trees growing in parks and planting in the North Island of New Zealand. Mr. Sykes recognized that the trees were not Erythrina variegata, as they were presumed to be. It was introduced into the U.S. in the 1970's when plants made their way to the LA Arboretum and later to the Huntington Botanic Garden. There are many fine specimens of this tree in California from San Diego to Santa Barbara.