This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(from Greek for red). Leguminosae. Coral-Tree. Herbs, shrubs or trees, with large and showy papilionaceous flowers, for planting out and for greenhouse bloom; and open-ground subjects in Florida and California.
Erect, or the herbs more or less reclining, usually spiny: leaves alternate, pinnately 3-foliolate, with small glanduliform stipules: flowers mostly red and in dense racemes; calyx 2-lipped or oblique; standard free or very nearly so, erect or spreading; tenth stamen free, or united only half its length: fruit a slender, more or less twisted pod; seeds mostly ovoid. - Known species about 50, in tropical and warm temperate regions around the world.
Erythrinas are much prized garden plants. Some of them, particularly the herbaceous kinds, are frequently planted out in the summer. In the house they demand an intermediate temperature. Give rich soil and frequent waterings. In the woody species, aim to have well-ripened wood for flowering, for the bloom is produced on wood of the preceding year. The herbaceous species are propagated by division of the rootstock; also by cuttings from shoots springing from the old roots. Woody species are propagated by cuttings of growing wood. All species are propagated by seeds, whenever these are obtainable. Many species have been more or less grown or tried within the limits of the United States; some of them fail to bloom in southern California, probably because of insufficient summer heat. The forms more or less in cultivation are likely to be imperfectly or doubtfuly determined botanically. Some of the erythrinas are used as shade for coffee and cacao plantations.
A. Herbaceous species (or treated as such). These die down at the end of the season, and the roots may be stored after the manner of dahlias. It is best to start the roots before planting them out, particularly in the N. In their native countries, these species are more or less woody. Crista-galli, Linn. (E. laurifolia, Jacq.). Common Coral-Tree. Bushy and woody, sometimes developing a very short trunk, but the flowering branches dying back after blooming, the stronger branches coming annually or periodically from near the root: stem and petioles somewhat spiny: lfts, ovate-oblong or lance-oblong, acuminate, entire: flowers large, brilliant crimson, the keel nearly as long as the down-folding standard, the wings rudimentary. Brazil. B.M. 2161. B.R. 313. L.B.C. 3:296. G. 4:451. G.W. 3, p. 437; 6, p. 281. F.E. 16:637 (variety compacta). - Runs into many forms, varying in the shade of red, some of them with variegated leaves South of Washington, it stands out-of-doors if protected. In the N. the fleshy roots are taken up and stored. Valuable for summer bloom. Flowers in large, terminal racemes. Madame Belanger is a popular garden form.
E. compacta, Bull, of very compact habit and flowers rich crimson is probably a form of this species.
Andr. Bush-like, reaching 8-12 ft., but usually cut back as E. Crista-galli is: stems and leaves prickly: lfts, broad and more or less 3-lobed, pointed, veiny: flowers in pubescent racemes, rich crimson. W. Indies. B.R. 750. - stem green, very prickly.
Linn. Perennial: stems several and herbaceous, from a very thick root, 2-4 ft. high, the flowering ones nearly leafless: leaflets 3, ovate to hastate; petioles long, more or less prickly: flowers 2 in. long and very slender, deep scarlet, in loose racemes 1-2 ft. long: seeds scarlet. N. C. to Texas and W. Indies. Common on Gulf coast of Ala. and Miss. B.M. 877. E. Bidwillii, Lindl., is a beautiful hybrid of this species and E. Crista-galli (the latter the pollen parent), with herbaceous shoots and an ascending vexillum. B.R. 33:9. H.F. 2:48.
aa. Woody or tree-like species. Greenhouse plants, or planted in the open in S. Calif, and S. Fla.
Humeana, Spreng. (E. caffra, Ker-Gawl, not Thunb.). Often tree-like and 30 ft. or more, the stem and petioles very spiny: petioles long; lfts, rhomboid-ovate, acuminate: peduncles axillary and strictly erect, longer than the leaves, white-warty; flowers verticillate-spiked on the ends of the peduncles, long and slender, deflexed, brilliant scarlet fading to purple. S. Africa B.M. 2431. B.R. 736.
Corallodendron, Linn. Coral-Tree. Tree, prickly: petioles not armed; lfts, ovate-rhomboid: calyx cam-panulate, the teeth obsolete; standard erect, linear-oblong, scarlet: seeds scarlet, usually with a black spot. W. Indies. L.D. 3:170. - The handsome deep scarlet large flowers are borne in long racemes after the leaves fall.
Willd. Prickly tree: lfts, scurfy-tomentose beneath, broadly ovate, obtuse, the terminal deltoid-ovate: calyx split nearly to base, the 5 teeth minute; standard orbicular, reflexed (1-1 1/2 in. long), the wings nearly as long as calyx, the keel-petals distinct and small: pod velvety, few-seeded. Jamaica to Brazil. B.M. 3227.
Lam. (E. carnea, Blanco). Tall tree with very small usually black prickles and thin gray back: lfts, rhomb-ovate, membranous and glabrous: flowers showy scarlet, in dense short racemes; calyx split nearly to base; standard ovate-oblong and blunt or nearly so, slightly recurved, 2- 2 1/2 in. long, and about half as broad, much exceeding the wings and keel: wings and keel nearly equal, not more than half so long as the calyx: pod 6-12 in. long, torulose. India, Polynesia, W. Indies. Variable. variety picta, Hort (E. plcta, Linn.), has variegated leaves Var Parcellii, Hort (E. Parcellii, Bull), has lfts, with variable yellow variegation: flowers bright cinnamon-red. G.C. II. 1874 (2): 393. G.Z. 18:64; 21, p. 2. By some, E. picta is accorded specific rank and E. Parcellii is united with it. variety marmorata, Hort. (E. marmorata, Veitch), has large leaves attractively spotted with white. G.Z. 24, p. 73.
Lout. Tree-like, 8 ft., the bark fuscous (brownish), bearing short prickles, the branching diffuse: leaves unarmed; lfts, lanceolate, entire, glabrous: flowers brown-red, in terminal.racemes; calyx somewhat bilabiate, the lips entire and erect; standard very long, obtuse, convolute in a tube; stamens long, connate at base: pod long, terete, articulate, pilose; seed3 oblong. Cochin-China.
Poeppigiana, Cook (Micropteryx Poeppigiana, Walp. E. Micropteryx, Poepp.). Bucare. Used for shading coffee and cacao in the W. Indies: tree 40-60 ft., the prickles short: leaves large, apparently not prickly; lfts, broad, entire, with nectaries at base of the 2 lower petiolules: flowers cinnabar-red; calyx truncate; standard plane, elliptic or narrow-oval, to 1 7/8 in. long; wings small, about twice exceeding the calyx, obovate or oval-elliptic; keel scarcely shorter than standard, arctuate. Probably Peruvian. - Offered in S. Fla. The E. umbrosa of the W. Indies is probably this species.
Kearney. Shrub or small tree, to 10 ft.: stems velvety white when young, bearing stout curved prickles below the If. - axils: leaves canescent when young, usually prickly; lfts, firm, fan-shaped or deltoid-ovate, usually broader than long, rounded at apex: flowers bright scarlet, crowded in short terminal racemes, numerous, pedicels vel-vety-canescent; calyx campanulate, truncate, usually somewhat oblique, white-tomentose; standard exceeding the calyx, about 1 1/2 in. long, linear-oblong, narrowed at both ends; wings and keel short: pod linear, torose; seeds oval, bright scarlet with whitish hilum. S. E. Ariz. - Offered in S. Calif.
E. arborea, Small (E. herbacea variety arborea, Chapm.). Shrub or small tree, to 20 ft., armed: leaves with wire-like petiole and rachis; lfts, deltoid or hastately 3-lobed: flowers scarlet in racemes 4-8 in. long: pod 3-5 in. long, constricted between the seeds. Fla. Likely to be planted. - E. bogotensis appears in a European trade list of green-ouse plants. - E. constantiana, Mich. Tree, soft, the trunk thick and spiny: flowers large, scarlet, in racemes. Eu. - E. inslgnis. Tod. Tree, sparingly prickly: lfts, ovate, tomentose when young: flowers scarlet, in short and dense racemes. Origin unknown. Gt. 28:988. - E. vespertilio, Benth. Shrub, for a warm greenhouse: glabrous, branches prickly: leaves not prickly; lfts, broad-cuneate at base, 3 or 4 in. broad, usually 3-lobed, and the middle lobe of various shape and sometimes absent: flowers showy (red?) and many in racemes; standard ovate, recurved at top, nearly 1 1/2 in. long; wings small, oblong: pod long, torulose; seeds few, large and red. Austral. G.Z., 30, p. 1. - E. viarum, Tod. Tree, prickly: lfts, rhombic-ovate, tomentose when young, terminal one long-stalked; flowers scarlet, in many-flowered short racemes, the standard obovate.
L. H. B