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A picture of a Coast Coral Tree

Coast Coral Tree

Erythrina caffra

Also known as

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

Erythrina caffra, bloeiwyse, d, Pretoria by JMK (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Full Sun
Easy care
Light watering
Tender

8a-11b

USDA zone

-12°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

12m

Max

11m

2m

Min

5m

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images

A photo of Coast Coral Tree
A photo of Coast Coral Tree
A photo of Coast Coral Tree
A photo of Coast Coral Tree
A photo of Coast Coral Tree

Overview

Coastal Coral Tree, Erythrina caffra is also known as African Coral Tree, amongst other common names. It is a deciduous tree from the pea family, Fabaceae. Spectacular orange-scarlet flowers adorn naked grey branches and grabs the attention of humans, birds and insects alike. From late winter to early summer, the Coastal Coral Tree can be seen blooming throughout the southern and eastern coastal parts of South Africa up to Mozambique. This tree is not only a great addition to any garden throughout the whole year, its popularity ascribed to its ease of cultivation and long flowering period. African Coral Tree enjoys full sun and well-draining soil, grow indoors in frost-prone climates. It is used as an ornamental plant and it may also be used to make canoes and troughs, and even roofing shingles, in bonsai, as well as in cooking. Sometimes referred to as the 'Cape Kaffirboom', this name is no longer considered acceptable due to racial implications and is provided for historical purposes only. This is a common feature plant. ZA Distribution: Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal.

Common problems

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

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.

Other uses

Medicinal

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