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Products > Erythrina acanthocarpa
Erythrina acanthocarpa - Tambookie Thorn

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Erythrina acanthocarpa
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Fabaceae = Pea Family
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Flower Color: Red & Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 3-5 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Erythrina acanthocarpa (Tambookie Thorn) - An interesting small shrubby deciduous Coral Tree that only grow to 3 to 6 feet tall with thorny stems arising from a swollen woody basal caudex and holding leaves composed of 3 bluish-green inch long leaflets with sharp black hooked prickles on the leaf rachis. In the spring appear the unusual showy flowers on 6 inch long spikes the flowers have slightly recurved orange-red banner greenish-yellow tips that enclose the other floral parts except the very tips of the stamens. After flowering appear the woody pods that are covered with short straight prickles. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and water infrequently. Has proven tolerant to a fair amount of winter cold but also an easy plant to kill with too much water. It is an interesting and attractive plant for the a succulent garden or in a large pot where the large base can be observed. Tambookie Thorn is native to grasslands in the Eastern Cape of South Africa from near Grahamstown, Cathart and Queenstown. The name for the genus comes from the Greek word 'erythros' meaning "red" in reference to the typically bright red flowers of many of the species. The specific epithet is derived from Greek words 'akanthos' meaning "thorn" or "thorny" and 'karpos' meaning "fruit" in reference to the spiny fruit pods. The area in the Eastern Cape of South Africa where this plant is common was once called Tambukiland and is the origin of the common name Tambookie Thorn (Tamboekiedoring in Afrikaans). We first grew and listed this plant in our catalogs from 1992-1998 from seed supplied by our friend, the late Fred Meyer, who acquired seed from the collection at the UC Irvine Arboretum. We tried to get seed from a farmer in South Africa who told us that it was quite limited because baboons were eating it all. Our current crops are being grown from plants supplied to us by John Trager at the Huntington Botanic Garden and seed supplied by Christy Powell at the San Diego Zoo. There are very nice plants in the desert garden at the Huntington Botanic Garden and the pictures of it in bloom on this page were taken there.  The information about Erythrina acanthocarpa displayed on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources we consider reliable. We will also relate those observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments we receive from others and welcome hearing from anyone who has additional information, particularly when they share cultural information that would aid others in growing it.