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Erythrina fusca - Coral Bean


Native to:



Central America and the Caribbean, northern and central South America.

Margins of swamps. Up to 1560 meters above sea level. 10 to 15 meter tall tree.

Erythrina fusca - Coral Bean

Ecological value:

Attracts hummingbirds for pollination. Pioneer species, drought tolerant and fixes atmospheric nitrogen. Cocoa trees intercropped with Coral bean, produce more pods due to nitrogen and phosphors from leaf litter. Planted as live fence.

Material uses:

Wood, light in weight, light yellow to brown in color. Fairly soft and not particularly durable. Used for carving and for canoes. Occasionally used for fuelwood but is not preferred.

Edible uses:

Leaves and flowers can be cooked or eaten raw as a vegetable. Used as a shade tree for cocoa and coffee plants.

Medicinal use:

The bark can be used for different liver ailments, to treat fevers, fresh wounds, headache, toothaches, coughs and as a sleep inducer.

Other details:

Also called the coral bean. Has ant-repellent compounds in its nectar. Often grown with vanilla plants and betel peppers, maize and cassava. Grown as ornamental. All Erthythtina species contain toxic alkaloids, found mostly in seeds. Good reforestation species. Can be pollarded every 2 years.


Christine Facella


“Erythrina Fusca Lour. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 7, 2023.
“Erythrina Fusca - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 7, 2023.
Facciola. S., ‘Cornucopia II’, Kampong Publications, California, 1998
Mors W.B.; Rizzini C.T.; Pereira N.A. , ‘Medicinal Plants of Brazil’, Reference Publications; Michigan, 2000
Allen O.N.; Allen E.K., ‘The Leguminosae; A Source Book of Characteristics, Uses and Nodulation’, University of Wisconsin, 1981
Image source: Tauʻolunga

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