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Products > Erythrina falcata
Erythrina falcata - Evergreen Coral Tree

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Fabaceae = Pea Family
Origin: Brazil (South America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 25-40 feet
Width: 20-40 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 falcata (Evergreen Coral Tree) - This is a mostly evergreen tree that grows erect to 30-50 feet tall and broadens with age to be equal or even slightly wider with rounded leaflets 5 inches long by 2 1/2 inches wide. Sometimes as early as late winter and continuing into summer, appear the 1 1/2 inch long deep orange-red flowers scattered along 6 to 12 inch long spikes on lateral buds from the previous summer's growth that are near the branch tips. The flowers have a broad banner that is folded over to hide the other petal parts and is sickle-shaped in profile. We consider this tree to be mostly evergreen, though infrequently it can be seen bare when in flower and often there will be leafless sections that allow the flowers to be better seen. It prefers full sun and deep watering and is hardy to 20 degrees F - our specimen tree on the property was undamaged in the short low temperatures in 1990. This tree comes from sub-Andean Peru and Bolivia to nearly 6,000 feet in elevation and also down into the lowlands of central and southern Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina. It is the largest of the coral trees grown in California and has been in cultivation in coastal California since the 1930s. In Peter Riedel's (1873-1954) unbound work Plants for Extra-Tropical Regions: A catalog of the plants that are, have been, or might be grown where the orange and the avocado thrive, including brief mention of others every plantsman should know Riedel lists the introduction by the Bureau of Plant Industry, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture with the number BPI 104114-1934, indicating it was first introduced in 1934, with a note that there was a specimen planted in Hillside Park (now Orpet Park) "circa 1930". This species in not found in this park today but many fine specimens can be found in the Santa Barbara area. We have a very large specimen tree of this species in front of our nursery along Hollister Ave that was planted in 1984 and there are beautiful specimens in Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden in downtown Santa Barbara as well as several large trees on the UCSB campus. The name Erythrina is from the Greek word 'erythros' (ερυθρσς) meaning "red". The specific epithet is the Latin word for a sickled-shaped sword. We have offered this plant on and off since first listing it in our 1982 catalog, mostly because this species is too large for many landscapes but also because it has been more difficult to vegetatively propagate than other Coral Trees, and seed grown plants do not bloom for many years. More recently we have had more success rooting cuttings of this magnificent species and are able to offer cutting grown plants in limited quantities.  This description is based on our research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We will also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information about this plant, in particular if this information is contrary to what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Erythrina falcata.