Overview

Distribution

Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Erythrina herbacea L.:
Mexico (Mesoamerica)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Erythrina arborea (Chapm.) Small:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

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Distribution: Native of southern United States of America; cultivated as an ornamental plant
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Shrub or small tree; prickles few. Leaf trifoliolate, petiole 5-8 cm long; leaflet 3.5-10 cm long, 3-5 cm broad, orbicular or ovate, acuminate, glabrous, petiolule c. 4 mm long. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, c. 30 cm long, leafy below with distant flowers. Calyx c. 10-12.5 mm long, slightly bilabiate, glabrous. Corolla scarlet. Vexillum 4.5-5.0 cm long, c. 2.0 cm broad. Fruit 7.5-12.5 cm long, short beaked, seeds bright red with a black spot.
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Physical Description

Perennial, Shrubs, Woody throughout, Nodules present, Stems erect or ascending, Stems less than 1 m tall, Stems 1-2 m tall, Trunk or stems armed with thorns, spines or prickles, Stems solid, Stems or young twigs glabrous or sparsely glabrate, Leaves absent at flowering time, Leaves alternate, Leaves petiolate, Stip ules conspicuous, Stipules green, triangulate to lanceolate or foliaceous, Stipules deciduous, Stipules free, Leaves compound, Leaves pinnately 3-foliolate, Leaves odd pinnate, Leaf or leaflet margins entire, Leaflets lobed or hastate, Leaflets opposite, Stipels present at base of leaflets, Leaflets 3, Leaves glabrous or nearly so, Inflorescences racemes, Inflorescence axillary, Inflorescence terminal, Bracts very small, absent or caducous, Bracteoles present, Flowers zygomorphic, Calyx 2-lipped or 2-lobed, Calyx glabrous, Petals separate, Corolla papilionaceous, Petals clawed, Petals red, Banner petal ovoid or obovate, Wing petals narrow, oblanceolate to oblong, Wing tips obtuse or rounded, Keel petals fused on sides or at tip, Stamens 9-10, Stamens diadelphous, 9 united, 1 free, Filaments glabrous, Style terete, Fruit a legume, Fruit stipitate, Fruit unilocular, Fruit tardily or weakly dehiscent, Fruit elongate, straight, Fruit oblong or ellipsoidal, Fruit coriaceous or b ecoming woody, Fruit exserted from calyx, Fruit compressed between seeds, Fruit torulose or moniliform, strongly constricted between seeds, Fruit beaked, Fruit glabrous or glabrate, Fruit 2-seeded, Fruit 3-10 seeded, Seeds ovoid to rounded in outline, Seed surface smooth, Seeds red, or scarlet and black.
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Dr. David Bogler

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flower/Fruit

Fl.Per.: March-April.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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Wikipedia

Erythrina herbacea

Erythrina herbacea, commonly known as the Coral Bean, Cherokee Bean, Red Cardinal or Cardinal Spear, is a flowering shrub or small tree found throughout the southeastern United States and northeastern Mexico;[1] it has also been reported from parts of Central America and, as an introduced species, from Pakistan. Various other systematic names have been used for this plant in the past, including Erythrina arborea, Erythrina hederifolia, Erythrina humilis, Erythrina rubicunda, Corallodendron herbaceum and Xyphanthus hederifolius.

Description[edit]

Coral Bean grows as a low shrub or small tree, reaching around 5 m (16 ft) in height in areas that do not kill it back by freezing;[2] elsewhere it may only reach 1.2 m (3.9 ft). Stems are covered in curved spines.[3] The leaves are yellowish-green, 15–20 cm (5.9–7.9 in) long and 6 cm (2.4 in) wide. The leaves are divided into three 2.5–8 cm (0.98–3.15 in) arrowhead-shaped leaflets.[2] The bark is smooth and light gray.[4] The tubular flowers are bright red and grow in long spikes,[5] each flower being 4–6.5 cm (1.6–2.6 in) long;[2] the tree blooms from April to July.[3] They are followed by 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) pods containing bright red seeds, from which the tree gets its name.[2] The plant forms a woody caudex.[6] Toxic alkaloids, including erysopine, erysothiopine, erysothiovine, erysovine, erythrinine, erythroresin, coralin, erythric acid, and hypaphorine,[7] are found throughout the plant. These cause paralysis upon ingestion, much like curare.[8]

Habitat and range[edit]

Coral Bean grows best in sandy soils and has moderate salt tolerance. It can be found in open woods, forest clearings, hammocks, and disturbed areas.[9] In the United States, it can be found from southeastern North Carolina south to Florida and west to southeastern Oklahoma and eastern Texas.[6] E. herbacea inhabits Tamaulipas in Mexico.[1]

Erythrina herbacea have also been noted to be found in some areas of the Dragoon Mountains in Southern Arizona, located around areas of the Cochise Stronghold and other older Indian remnants. It is noted to have most-likely been introduced through trade from the Mogollon culture that existed in the area from 150AD to 1400AD and possibly even the later Apache Indians that occupied the area in the 19th century. Confirmation of Erythrina herbacea, Dec. 27 2013, of Erythrina herbacea in the Council Rocks area of the Dragoon Mountains, a prominent area filled with signs of Mogollon culture. Further research of the surrounding area is needed for range confirmation.[citation needed]

Uses[edit]

E. herbacea can be readily grown in gardens within its natural range. Although its use in gardens is not particularly common, it is popular among those who do grow it as a source of early season color, for its hardiness (USDA Zones 7-10), and because it attracts hummingbirds.[10]

Native American people had many medicinal uses for this plant, varying between nations and localities. Creek women used an infusion of the root for bowel pain; the Choctaw used a decoction of the leaves as a general tonic; the Seminole used an extract of the roots for digestive problems, and extracts of the seeds, or of the inner bark, as an external rub for rheumatic disorders.[11]

In Mexico, the seeds are used as a rat poison, while a fish poison is made from the bark and leaves.[8]

In some Central American countries the flowers are used in traditional cuisine. Mostly added to bean soup or meat patties, it is known for its mild narcotic properties.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Taxon: Erythrina herbacea L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 1998-09-07. Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  2. ^ a b c d Nelson, Gil (1994). The Trees of Florida: a Reference and Field Guide. Pineapple Press Inc. p. 213. ISBN 978-1-56164-055-3. 
  3. ^ a b Duncan, Wilbur H.; Marion B. Duncan (2005). Wildflowers of the Eastern United States. University of Georgia Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-8203-2747-1. 
  4. ^ "Coral Bean Erythrina herbacea". FieldGuides. eNature. Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  5. ^ "Erythrina herbacea L.". Native Plant Information Network. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  6. ^ a b Neyland, Roy (2009). Wildflowers of the Coastal Plain. LSU Press. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-8071-3407-8. 
  7. ^ Austin, Daniel F. (2004). Florida Ethnobotany. CRC Press. p. 291. ISBN 978-0-8493-2332-4. 
  8. ^ a b Tull, Delena (1999). Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest: A Practical Guide. University of Texas Press. p. 254. ISBN 978-0-292-78164-1. 
  9. ^ "Coralbean (Erythrina herbacea)". Florida Forest Plants. Florida 4-H Forest Ecology. Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  10. ^ Bird Gardens: Welcoming Wild Birds to Your Yard. Brooklyn Botanic Garden. 1998. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-889538-08-2. 
  11. ^ Moerman, Daniel E. (2009). Native American Medicinal Plants: An Ethnobotanical Dictionary. Timber Press. p. 227. ISBN 978-0-88192-453-4. 
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