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Products > Erythrina flabelliformis
Erythrina flabelliformis - Coral Bean

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Fabaceae = Pea Family
Origin: Southwest (U.S.) (North America)
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Summer
Synonyms: [Erythrina purpusii]
Height: 8-12 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20° F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Erythrina flabelliformis (Coral Bean) - A semi-succulent low growing deciduous shrubby tree from the Sonoran desert of southern Arizona New Mexico south into Mexico. It has swollen roots and stems that bear scattered small spines and attractive trifoliate leaves with rounded leaflets. In late winter to spring appear the open clusters of tubular red flowers at the same time the leaves begin to emerge and then in late summer appear 8 to 12 inch long beans which split lengthwise to expose the brilliant red seeds, giving rise to the common name “Coral Bean”. In much of its natural range this plant usually reaches no taller than 4 or 5 feet in height though in areas to the south this plant may get as tall as 25 feet as it does in southern Baja California. In southern Arizona this plant will naturally freeze back but resprout from the roots, though will not flower that year on the new growth. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil or in a container that can be protected from temperatures below 20°F or overly wet winter conditions. This plant is often seen in succulent collections and can be grown in relatively small containers for an indefinite period of time. In Mexico the seeds are sold in the marketplace as a bead called Colorines, which' while quite pretty, are quite toxic if eaten and in even a small amount can produce hallucinations, vomiting, convulsions, and even death; it is advisable that one keep the beads around the neck and not in the mouth. The name Erythrina is derived from the Greek word 'erythros' meaning "red" for the typical red flowers of the genus and the specific epithet "flabelliformis" is from the Latin words 'flabellum' meaning "fan" and 'formis' meaning "shaped" in reference to the shape of the leaflets. Our plants from seed collected in the Huachuca Mountains of southern Arizona.  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We have also incorporated comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Erythrina flabelliformis.