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Erythrina lysistemon


Flower of Erythrina herbacea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Phaseoleae
Genus: Erythrina
Species: E.  lysistemon
Binomial name
Erythrina lysistemon

Erythrina lysistemon (Hutch.) aka "Common coral tree", "lucky bean tree", "kaffir boom" or "Transvaal kafferboom" is a deciduous tree native from South Africa. It is regularly cultivated as a tree for gardens and parks.

Coral tree is 30 to 40 feet tall (9-12 m) with a smooth grayish bark, not corky; hooked prickles scattered on trunk and branches; leaves with 3 leaflets, up to 7 inches long (17 cm), petiole and midrib prickly. The tree is leafless for up to 4 or 5 months of the year. The lovely scarlet red flower are borne in dense racemes in spring before leaves and attract numerous birds and insects to the garden. Recommended Temperature Zone USDA: 9b-12


Erythrina lysistemon is a very decorative tree but it is also an important component of the ecosystem, providing food and shelter for a variety of birds, animals and insects.

Erythrina lysistemon is also widely used and enjoyed by mankind. They have been regarded as royal trees, and were planted on the graves of Zulu chiefs.

The flowering of the trees has been, and still is, a good signal to the people that it is time to plant their crops.

Erythrina lysistemon is thought to have both medicinal and magical properties by many people. Crushed leaves placed on a maggot-infested wound are said to clear the maggots. The bark applied as a poultice is used to treat sores, wounds, abscesses and arthritis. Infusions of the leaves are used as ear drops to relieve earache, and decoctions of the roots are applied to sprains. Erythrina lysistemon does contain a large number of alkaloids that are known to be highly toxic, but its use in traditional medicine suggests that they have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.

The seeds are used as lucky charms. They also contain toxic alkaloids as well as anti-blood-clotting substances that may be of value in the treatment of thromboses[1].


  1. ^ According to Braam van Wyk and Piet van Wyk, who are indigenous tree specialists


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Erythrina_lysistemon". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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