Prickly Coral Tree
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Prickly Coral Tree
D Native Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Prickly Coral Tree, Indian Coral Tree • Hindi: धौल ढाक Dhol dhak • Kannada: enmouricou, hemmuruku, hemmuruku mara • Malayalam: Mullumurukku, Murikku, Murukku • Nepali: फलेदो Phaledo • Sanskrit: Mura, परिभद्र Paribhadra, परिभद्रः Paribhadrah • Tamil: Murukkai, Murukku • Telugu: Baarijama, Baarjapu, Mullumoduga, Munimoduga
Botanical name: Erythrina stricta    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)

Prickly Coral Tree is a deciduous tree, 7-12 m tall, with a straight trunk. Branches have short whitish prickles. Leaves are 3-foliolate; stipules deciduous; leaf-stalk 12-15 cm, rarely with prickles; end leaflet broadly triangular, almost rhomboid, or broadly kidney-shaped-oblate, 7-19 x 7-24.5 cm, both surfaces hairless, lateral veins 5-8 pairs, base nearly heart-shaped, flat, or broadly wedge-shaped, margin entire, tip pointed or with a tail with mucro 1.0-1.5 cm. Flowers are borne in raceme about 15 cm, with flowers arranged in clusters of 3 or 4. Sepal-cup is spathelike, undivided or tip slightly 2-lobed. Flowers are red; standard elliptic-lanceshaped or ovate-triangular, erect, 3-4.5 cm, nearly stalkless; wings nearly obovate, 6-8 mm, shorter than sepal-cup; keels much longer than wings. Pods are 7-12 x 0.7-1.5 cm, hairless. Seeds 1-3 or more, light or dark brown, kidney-shaped. Prickly Coral Tree is found in forests by rivers, mountain slopes, at altitudes of about 1400 m, in Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam. It is found throughout the Himalayas. Flowering: March-July.

Identification credit: Varun Sharma Photographed in Lonavala, Maharashtra.

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