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Coral Bean

Fact sheet: Coral Bean


Erythrina herbacea is a shrub that may attain a height of 20 feet but is often smaller. It rarely exceeds a height of 8 feet in the northern and central sections of Florida. The coral bean has compound leaves that are semi-deciduous, and these 6- to 8-inch-long leaves are composed of three shallow-lobed leaflets. The leaves are light to medium green in color and have prickles on their midribs; the prickles are found on the undersides of the leaflets. The stems of this plant are also armed with short, recurved spines. In south Florida, slender, multiple trunks that are covered with pale, thick bark are formed. Scarlet, tubular flowers are borne in 2-foot-long terminal racemes that can be enjoyed from April to June. These flowers are attractive to hummingbirds. The showy fruits of the coral bean are drooping pods that are constricted between the seeds. These pods split in the fall to reveal the beautiful, scarlet seeds.


Scientific name: Erythrina herbacea

Pronunciation: air-rith-RYE-nuh hur-BAY-see-uh

Common name(s): coral bean, cardinal spear, Cherokee bean

Fact Sheet: Coral Bean

Planted in Nassau County Extension Demonstration Garden