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
Flower Color: Red
Flower Shape: Pea Shaped Petals
Flower Season: Spring
Propagation Method: Cutting or Seed
Sizes Available: 25 gallon
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.
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