Erythrina crista-galli - L.
Common Name Coral Tree, Crybabytree
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards The plant contains alkaloids that have powerful narcotic and purgative effects[200]. The seeds of all members of this genus are said to be poisonous[274].
Habitats Not known
Range S. America - Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Full sun

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Erythrina crista-galli Coral Tree, Crybabytree
Erythrina crista-galli Coral Tree, Crybabytree
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Erythrina crista-galli is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 2 m (6ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.


Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;
Edible Uses
None known
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Narcotic;  Purgative.

The plant is narcotic and purgative[200].


Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Requires a moderately fertile well-drained soil in a very sunny position[200]. Best if given the protection of an east, south or south-west facing wall[200]. Plants are not very hardy outdoors in Britain though the rootstock can tolerate temperatures down to about -10°c provided the stem bases are thickly mulched with organic matter such as leaf litter or sawdust and covered with bracken[200]. The top growth will be killed by the frost but new growth from the rootstock will flower in late summer[200]. A plant growing outdoors at the RHS Gardens in Wisley, Surrey, grows and flowers well in a warm sheltered corner[260]. Its root is mulched each winter to protect it from the cold[260]. A form called 'Compacta' is said to flower more freely than the type[233]. Plants take 3 - 4 years to flower from seed[200]. Plants are difficult to establish, taking some years to flower[202]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200].
Seed - pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[200]. Overwinter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer. Heeled cuttings of young growth in the spring in a frame[200]. Overwinter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Erythrina acanthocarpa 01
Erythrina fuscaCoral Bean, Swamp Immortelle22
Erythrina herbaceaCardinal Spear, Redcardinal11
Erythrina humeanaDwarf Kaffirboom, Dwarf erythrina01
Erythrina vernaMulungu04
Erythrina x bidwillii 01
Erythrina zeyheriPrickly Cardinal01


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Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
Carol Hay   Wed Feb 23 23:29:30 2005
Your site says that a tree takes 3-4 years to flower from seed. I beg to differ. I germinated a seed from my Mother's parent tree in Jamaica, West Indies. I live in Grand Cayman. The tree is not yet a year old and is literally covered in a cluster of blooms. I am estatic because I was told this would not happen for at least five years. The tree is already 4 ft tall. Which brings me to another question - how long will it take to seed? I have people lined up to get seedlings! Also, one of the sites I hit (I can't remember which one) said that you could eat the flowers. Other sites say it's toxic? Who is right?
david Nicholls   Wed Jan 23 2008
New Scientist Magazine reports that a protein from this plant binds exclusively to surface of pain neurons. When combined with botox it has potential as a super-pain-killer(19 April 2003, page 14).
[email protected]   Tue Mar 21 2006
I would like to order a coral tree. Do you know where I could purchase one?
Vithal Nadkarni   Tue Mar 6 2007
Hi. I am growing this beauty (in the form of a graft on a root stock of the Indian coral tree (Erythrina indica)) in my garden and it has taken a few months to stablise, only to put lovely shoots in this spring. However, there's a WARNING: the eeds of this beautiful tree are TOXIC - poisonous. Vithal Nadkarni, Senior Assistant Editor, The Economic Times Mumbai, India
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Subject : Erythrina crista-galli  

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