Coast Coral Tree

Erythrina caffra

Kuskoraalboom, Kaapse Koraalboom (Afr.), Umsinsi (Zulu), Umsintsi (Xhosa)

1 of 11
1 of 11
Spectacular orange-scarlet flowers adorn naked grey branches and grabs the attention of humans, birds and insects alike. During the late winter to early summer period, the coastal coral tree can be seen blooming throughout the southern and eastern coastal parts of South Africa. This tree is not only a great addition to any garden during this season, but throughout the whole year, its popularity ascribed to its ease of cultivation and long flowering period. It is not only used as an ornamental plant but can be used to make canoes and troughs, and even roofing shingles, in bonsai, as well as being used in the culinary applications. This is a common feature plant. ZA Distribution: Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal.

Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Summer, Spring

Fruiting time

Summer, Autumn

Harvesting

Harvesting of various parts of plant for traditional medicinal use is done by hand, either pulling or cutting various parts of plant.

Propagation

Cuttings

Make giant hardwood cuttings called truncheons in winter. After taking the cutting, allow the wound to dry for about 1-2 days. Bury one third into damp, well-draining soil.

Seed

Seed should be soaked in warm water overnight. Throw out any seeds that float.

Special features

Attracts birds

Birds such as Redwinged starlings (Onychocnathus morio), bulbuls (Pycnonotus sp.), yellow weavers (Ploceus subaureus), sunbirds (Nectarinia sp.) and orioles (Orioles sp.) love the nectar.

Drought resistant

Fully grown trees are fairly drought resistant.

Hedge plant

Planted as living palisades around the houses of the early settlers, used then and even today as fences around kraals and waterholes.

Attracts useful insects

Attracts insects such as bees, beetles, butterflies and others.

Attracts bees

Special features

Origin

South Africa

Natural climate

Temperate and Subtropical Coastal areas

Environment

Light

Full Sun

Soil moisture

Dry

Soil type

Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Neutral, Acid, Alkaline

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Medicinal

Poison produced by the tree is used medicinally to relax the muscles in treating nervous diseases. The bark is used topically to treat sores, wounds, abscesses and arthritis.

Personality

Family

Fabaceae

Flower colour

Red, Orange

Scent

None

Credits

profile iconErythrina caffra
by Werner Voigt, Kirstenbosch NBG, October 2006 (Copyright South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa)