Erythrina herbacea

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Coralbean, Cherokee Bean

Fabaceae (Leguminosae)

Plant Specifics

Size:3-20 ft tall by 2-10 ft wide
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:Pink,red
Fruit Color:Red,brown
Phenology:Deciduous, semi-evergreen in South Florida. Blooms in spring. Fruits remain on the plant through winter.
Noted for:Showy flowers, Showy fruits, Thorns


Recommended Uses:Forming a thicket for wildlife protection.

It has thorns, but they are rather small.

The seeds of Cherokee bean are poisonous and purportedly used for rat poison in Mexico.

Propagation:Scratching the seeds, or rubbing them with a slight abrasive, prior to planting in the spring is recommended--wear gloves to avoid the poison from these seeds. Semi-hardwood cuttings can be rooted.
Availability:Native nurseries, FNPS plant sales, Seed
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade,  Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods)
Moisture Tolerance: Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:High. Can tolerate significant and ongoing amounts of salty wind and salt spray without injury.
Soil or other substrate:Loam, Sand
Soil pH:5.4 to 7.6



Attracts hummingbirds.

Due to its dense foliage and thorny stems, coral bean serves as a refuge for small birds and animals.


Attracts long-tongued pollinators.

Native Habitats:Dry sites. Upland mixed forest, thickets, tropical hammocks, coastal dunes, sandhill, flatwoods, tropical hammock, pine rocklands. This species can be seen in the picnic area at Alderman Ford County Park in Hillsborough County.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 10B 11 8A 8B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures



The women of the Creek tribe used cold infusion of the root for bowel pain.

The Mikasuki Seminole used decoction of roots or berries used for horse sickness: nausea, constipation and blocked urination.