Erythrina caffra, the coastal coral tree or African coral tree, is a tree native to southeastern Africa.
Erythrina caffra is a medium to large deciduous tree. It grows in coastal bushes and riverine forests along the southeastern coast of South Africa and up into Zululand.
The largest and most attractive Erythrina caffra occur in Addo Elephant National Park. The flowers of the coastal coral tree differ slightly from others as they have a touch of terracotta. It has become a popular garden tree in the Cape as its long-lasting winter blossoms warm the long coastal winters.
The leaves are made up of three leaflets. Each leaflet is broadly ovate to elliptical. The leaflets do not have prickles and are hairless.
The flowers are made up of a main petal and four small petals. The main petal curves back to expose the stamens.The flower colour is warm red to scarlet.
This is one of the main differences between Erythrina caffra and Erythrina lysistemon. The flowers form stalked axillary racemes up to 100mm long.
The bark is reasonably smooth with thorns every now and then. The younger the branch the sharper the thorns.
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