Erithrina-lysistemon-tree-sa_edited-1

Erythrina lysistemon (Hutch.)

Category:

Product Description

Description: Small to medium sized tree, occurring in bush veld and often on warm north facing rocky ridges. Like E. abyssinica it is also leafless for the 3 winter months, when it flowers. It has hooked thorns on its trunk and branches.

Features of Particular Interest:Scarlet flowers cover the tree on bare branches after the tree has lost its leaves, in the winter at the height of the dry season when everything else is bare. The flowers are similar to E.abyssinica but petals are bigger and droop around the flower stalk. The flowers attract plethora of different nectar eating birds. The seed pods split to expose “lucky beans” which are red and black, highly decorative but are reported to be poisonous.

Height and Spread : 8m x 8m rounded shape, sparse crown

Periods of Interest

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Leaf

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Flower

X

X

X

Fruit

X

X

X

X

X

Cultivation

Soil and Moisture: It likes deep well-drained soil, but can tolerate poor soils. It requires little water.

Aspect: A sun-loving species.

Hardiness: It is drought resistant, but not frost resistant when young.

Maintenance and Pruning: E. lysistemon grows fast, up to 1.5m per year, if watered.

Propagation: It grows easily from seed or truncheon.

Problems and Drawbacks: It is not a child-friendly climbing tree because of its thorny bark. It is prone to borer insects. It has a fairly aggressive root system and should not be planted too close to the house or walls. It may be considered messy in June and July as it drops its leaves, but this also provides good leaf compost. Not a common tree in many areas.

Use and Associated Planting: E. lysistemon is best used as a specimen tree on large lawn, in front of the house. May also be used in an avenue. Not suitable for car parks. Plant next to Dombeya rotundifolia which flowers creamy white flowers at the same time in the dry season when little else is flowering.

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Notes: Seeds are used for craftwork. Attracts sunbirds and butterflies and bees. 

Family:
Fabaceae
Genus:
Erythrina
Species:
lysistemon
Common Name(s):
Sacred Coral tree
Synonym(s):
Erythrina caffra (Thunb. var.) mossambicensis (Baker f)
Origin:
Southern Africa
Size:
Medium
Flower Colour:
Scarlet red
Fruit Colour:
Black
Features:
Flowers
References:
Joffe p.111, Johnson p.116, Coates Palgrave p. 400.
Pocket List of S.A Indigenous Trees No.:
245
Zimbabwe Nat. Tree List No.:
366