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Coral bean (native)
Coral bean (native)
Coral bean (native)

Coral bean (native)

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Coral bean
Scientific Name: Erythrina herbacea
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History/general species info: Also known as Cherokee Bean and Red Cardinal. In Mexico the seeds have traditionally been used to poison rats and the wood is carved into various small objects. The Indians of Texas and Louisiana, and later the children of white settlers, were said to use the red beans to make jewelry, but because the seeds are poisonous, they should be kept away from children. 

Characteristics: Medium shrub. Heart-shaped glossy green leaves. Thorns. The seed pod (8” long) is blackish with bright red (poisonous to humans) seeds inside. The seeds are firmly attached to the pod, and will remain in place for months.

Native: yes

Flower: yes; red / seed pod (seeds poisonous) 

Planting / Care: , Grows in sandy woods, loam and clay. Hardy to 28º. Thorns. Salt tolerant. A good choice for hot, sunny to part shade sites. Moderately drought tolerant once established, and grows best in well-drained soil. Hummingbirds are attracted to the red, showy flowers.

Size and Spacing: Height: 9’  Spread: 9’

Light requirement:  sun/part shade

Wildlife: Hummingbirds

Aggie Horticulture

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Photo credit: Aggie Horticulture Texas A&M