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Friday, May 16, 2014

Flower Friday: 
Coralbean puts on a spectacular spring and summer show!

Photo submitted by Valorie Catalano
Coralbean (Erythrina herbacea)

Also known as cardinal spear or Cherokee bean, coralbean is a semi-deciduous to evergreen shrub that produces long racemes of striking red tubular flowers. Its fruits are large, drooping pods that are filled with bright red seeds. Coralbean leaves are light green, deltoid-shaped and have tiny prickles on the undersides. The stem and branches are also armed with short spines.

Family: Fabaceae, Legume family
Hardiness: North, Central and South Florida (Zones 8-11).

Soil: Prefers dry, sandy soil and is also somewhat salt tolerant.

Exposure: Partial shade to partial sun.
Growth habit: Coralbean is a woody shrub that typically grows to between 6 and 8 feet tall, although it can grow as tall as 20 feet.
Garden tips: Coralbean is incredibly versatile. Left alone and in the right conditions, it can grow to the size of a small tree. Trimmed back, it works well as a border or mass planting and in container or above-ground planters. Its scarlet, tubular flowers produce nectar that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Coralbean is drought-tolerant and pest-resistant, making it the perfect addition to your Florida landscape.

To see where coralbean occurs naturally in Florida, visit its page in the Atlas of Vascular Plants: http://www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=3264

--Stacey Matrazzo

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