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Plants of the UNF Campus

Erythrina herbacea - Cherokee bean, Coral bean
Family Fabaceae


Over one hundred species of Erythrina are native to warm climate regions around the world. They are shrubs and trees, often with showy flowers. The coral bean is native to the eastern United States and northern Mexico. It has long spikes of tubular red flowers at its branch tips in spring. Flowers are followed by thin, bean-like pods that split at maturity to display bright red seeds. Hummingbirds are attracted to these flowers. The compound leaves have three distinctively triangular leaflets. The leaf stalks and stems are spiny.


In warmer climates, Erythrina species are large enough for wood to have uses. The book, Florida Ethnobotany, devotes two pages to the traditional uses of this plant. Like many plants with medicinal uses, this plant can be fatally toxic.


See this plant on the south side of Building 2 and the Golf Learning Center.


Medium-sized shrub to about four feet tall or more.

Care Instructions:

Light: sun, part shade

Water: well-drained soil, drought tolerant

Soil: adaptable to soil types, no other special requirements

This native plant grows well in Florida in a sunny to partly shady site in any reasonably well-drained soil. In north Florida, it usually dies to the ground in winter and resprouts in spring.