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Arid Zone Trees

Erythrina bidwillii

Bidwill's Coral Bean

Foliage: Deciduous Semi-Evergreen

Mature Height: 15’ - 20’

Mature Width: 10’ - 25’

Growth Rate: Fast

Hardiness: 25 degrees F

Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Leaf Color: Green

Shade: Filtered

Flower Color:  Red

Flower Shape: Pea Shaped Petals

Flower Season: Spring

Thorns: Yes

Propagation Method: Cutting or Seed

Sizes Available: 25 gallon

 

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Erythrina bidwillii PDF

 

Erythrina bidwillii (Bidwell's Coral Bean) is a deciduous to semi-evergreen shrub to small tree when protected from frost can obtain the height of 20 feet. It flowers during the summer months a very attractive red pea shaped flower that stands out among the traditional desert landscape. The tree needs cleaning of spent flowers for the manicured clean landscape. Wear gloves when pruning to protect hand from barb on branch stem.

 

The bright red tubular flower of Erythrina bidwillii is typically pollinated by insects and hummingbirds. Pollen adheres to the hummingbirds head and bill transferring pollen between flowers. Cross pollination occurs when pollen is transferred from one trees flower to another trees flower. When pollinating the hummingbird is reward with the trees sucrose rich nectar fulfilling their energy requirement and high metabolic rate.

 

The wood is strong and light weight with the buoyancy of balsa wood. The wood has been used for canoe out-rigging, fish net floats and surfboards. In Africa the tree is considered a royal tree and planted on the graves of Zulu chiefs. When the tree  begins to flower farmers new it was time to plant crops. Medicinal use suggests that species have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. The seed is said to be a lucky charm.

 

The genus name Erythrina comes from the Greek erythros meaning red, both the flower and seed is bright red. There are over 100 species of Erythrina that grow in warm frost free regions of the world. The distributions are: Mexico (27), Central America (25), South America (21), West Indies (9), Tropical Africa (26), South Africa (5), Continental Asia (6), Melanesia and South Pacific (6), and Australia (2). One species (E. fusca) grows on all the continents except Africa, and three species are native to the United States and the Hawaiian Islands for a total of 116 species.

 

Disclaimer: The information provided here was gathered from research literature published by the University of Arizona, other professional Landscape and Horticultural organizations and our experience at Arid Zone Trees. Always consult local landscape experts for recommendation for your specific area.

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