Botanical Name:  Erythrina herbacea

Common Name:  Coralbean, Cherokee Bean, Red Cardinal, Cardinal Spear

Description:  Tall spikes of glowing red to purplish-red, 2-3″ tubular bloom in late spring and summer are held well above the foliage. The red tubular flowers are a magnet for hummingbirds and larger butterflies, the Coralbean plant’s primary pollinators. This is a long-lived, disease and pest resistant, Florida native perennial shrub. It does have small thorns. Prefers sun, part sun, or part shade areas of your garden. Grows 6-12′ tall and wide. Established plants can form thickets, which are great for wildlife. Drought tolerant. Likes growing in loam or sandy soil. Its native habitat is in dry sites, upland mixed forest, thickets, tropical hammocks, coastal dunes, sandhill, flatwoods, tropical hammock, pine rocklands. Very pretty, very tough, very easy plant to grow.

Pollinated flowers develop super cool, long, swollen pods that turn black and curl with age. Towards the end of summer the dark pods split open showing off the bright, shiny red-orange beans that add color to the fall and winter garden. The stems make a nice addition to fall and winter arrangements. Poison garden alert:  the beans and much of the plant itself are considered poisonous.

Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water. Can tolerate significant and ongoing amounts of salty wind and salt spray without injury.

This plant in 1-gallon containers is 5-15″ tall.

Plant Lore: Native Americans used the roots and seeds to treat a variety of ailments and extracts. Before you go making some yourself, remember what I said about the Poison Garden Alert. Coralbean gets a common name from its coral-colored seeds. It is also known as Cardinal spear, which refers to its red tubular flowers.

Hardiness Zones 7-11


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