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Coral Bean, Eastern Coral Bean, Cardinal Spear, Cherokee Bean, Red Cardinal-flower, Corolillo, Patol, Pitos, Colorin, Chilicote, Zampantle
Erythrina herbacea

Fabaceae (Leguminosae)

Coral bean blooms from May to June, before the leaves appear, with glowing dark red waxy flowers on spikes that can be up to one foot long. Later, thin dark pods about 8 inches long open to expose brilliant red (and poisonous) seeds inside. Its trunk and branches have stout, curved thorns, and the heart-shaped leaves are glossy green. Coral bean is very cold tender, and above 28 degrees F. it will die back to the roots like a perennial, but will return in the spring, often reaching 3 to 5 feet in a season. The roots are hardy as far north as Dallas. In the Rio Grande Valley it loses its leaves but does not die back and can grow to be a small tree ranging from 6 to 25 feet high. It grows along the U.S. southeast coastal plains and in East Texas in sandy open woods, but can adapt to clay and other soils. A good choice for hot, sunny sites, coral bean is moderately drought tolerant once established, and grows best in well-drained soil. Hummingbirds are attracted to the red, showy flowers.

Plant Habit or Use: medium shrub
large shrub

Exposure: sun
partial sun

Flower Color: red

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: dark pod enclosing red seeds

Height: 6 to 25 feet

Width: 5 to 20 feet

Plant Character: deciduous

Heat Tolerance: high

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: neutral

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7

Additional Comments:

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