Botanical name: Erythrina variegata Family: Fabaceae (pea family)
Synonyms: Erythrina indica, Erythrina mysorensis, Erythrina orientalis
Indian Coral Tree is a showy, spreading tree legume with brilliant red blossoms. This highly valued ornamental has been described as one of the gems of the floral world. It is a picturesque, broad and spreading, deciduous tree that can get 60-80 ft tall and spread 20-40 ft It has many stout branches that are armed with black tiger's claw spines. There are curved spines (really more like prickles) on the long leaf stalks too. The leaves are compound, with three diamond shaped leaflets, each about 6 in long. Before the leaves come out in late winter or early spring, coral tree puts on a spectacular show with bright crimson flowers 2-3 in long in dense terminal clusters. It may flower a little during the summer, too. The beanlike pods that follow the flowers are cylindrical, about 15 in long, and constricted between the reddish brown seeds. The naturally occurring variety orientalis has the veins of its leaflets highlighted with yellow or pale green. 'Parcellii', with yellow variegated leaves, may be just another name for the same variety. 'Alba' has white flowers.
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