Coralbean – Flowering Now!

!!flowers-erythrina-herbacea
Coralbean (Erythrina herbacea) has begun to flower. Its showy spikes (terminal racemes) of scarlet flowers attract butterflies, hummingbirds & other pollinators.

Plants in full sun tend to flower earlier and produce longer flower spikes. The caveat: This plant varies greatly from individual to individual (like people ?). Some plants will shed all of their leaves in winter prior to flowering, other plants will retain some of their leaves (semi-decidous), and other plants will hang on to most of their leaves. In north Florida, this plant dies back to the ground and grows quickly when warmer temperatures return.

This plant is quite sturdy, shown below after being mowed to the ground on a mosquito control dike …
!!erythrina-herb-on-dike
A member of the pea (Fabaceae) family, this plant has trifoliate leaves, often with a larger middle leaf …
!!leaves-of-erythrina-herbacea
Green “pea” pods follow the flowers …
!!-green-erythrina-herbacea-pods
When ripe, the blackened pods split open to reveal the coral colored seeds that give rise to the common name of coral bean.
!!erythrina-seed-pod
Scarified seeds germinate quite quickly. Plants grown from seed develop a bulbous storage root at the ground that does not form on plants grown from cuttings. Please be aware that the seeds are poisonous.

This plant can be an excellent addition to your landscape for winter flowers, to attract pollinators & hummingbirds, and to reduce foot traffic since its stems are armed with recurved prickles.

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