Coralbean (Erythrina herbacea)
Click on terms for botanical definitions.
Coralbean is a semi-deciduous to evergreen woody shrub that produces long racemes of striking scarlet flowers that are tubular in shape. Its fruits are large, drooping pods that are filled with bright red seeds. Coralbean leaves are light green, deltoid-shaped and have tiny prickles along the undersides of the margins. The stem and branches are also armed with short spines.
Coralbean is also known as cardinal spear or Cherokee bean. Its red tubular flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Family: Fabaceae (Legume or pea family)
Native range: Nearly throughout
To see where natural populations of coralbean have been vouchered, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Soil: Dry, sandy soil
Exposure: Partial shade to partial sun
Growth habit: typically 6-8’ tall, but has been known to grow as tall as 20’
Propagation: Seed, cuttings
Garden tips: Coralbean is an incredibly versatile plant. Left alone and in the right conditions, it can grow to the size of a small tree. Trimmed back, it works well as a border or mass planting and in container or above-ground planters. Coralbean is drought tolerant and pest resistant, making it the perfect addition to your Florida landscape. It is also somewhat salt tolerant.
Coralbean is often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants. Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.