Scientific name: Erythrina fusca,
Synonym: Erythrina glauca (according to Trees For Life Malaysia website)
Common name: Indian Coral Tree, Tiger's Claw, Cape Kaffirboom, Gallito, Coral bean, Bois immortelle, Bucayo
Family: Fabaceae / Leguminosae / Papilionaceae
Category: Ever-flowering desiduous small tree
Native plant of: Malaysia, India, Thailand and the Pacific Islands.
They grow wild along sandy beaches and riversides. Inland, they are cultivated as ornamental shade trees.
Our local name for this plant is dedap merah. I was initially very much attracted to the beautiful bright red flowers of this tree. I love red because it is very auspicious and brings me good luck. It took me a long long time to find out the name of this plant. Actually, my knowledge of trees is very limited. I am so very happy that finally I have unveiled the mystery of this tree. It is actually a small tree. Under the right conditions, it can grow to a height of 60 ft.
The flowers are large, bright red and have a claw-like shape. Leaves are alternate, compound, with three heart-shaped leaflets. The foliage is a shiny dark green colour. The base of the petiole is swollen and cylindrical.
This deciduous tree has a spiny bark. It is a species of flowering tree in the legume family. The dark brown seeds are stored in bean shaped pods that measure up to 20cm (8in). I notice that when it is growing well, the branches are spread out like an umbrella. When it is blooming with striking red flowers, it is indeed a spectacular sight amidst the clear blue sky. When the flowers fade and petals fall to the ground, it will look like spent red fire cracker papers strewn all over the ground. Just like Chinese New Year season. Very auspicious!
Here, in Malaysia, we can find a lot of these trees planted by property developers and city councils at housing estates, public parks and walkways.
There are some planted near the entrance to Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur at the base of the Petronas Twin Towers and overlooking KLCC Park. There are sidewalk cafes here such as Starbucks and Coffee Bean where you can enjoy your cuppa in the outdoors and admire the greenery and scenery of KLCC Park and surrounding skyscrappers.
We have a local malay saying "Bunga dedap" which means a person with good looks but without good manners and who can't seem to run the household properly. Like the red flower that is very beautiful but without any scent.
Have you seen this plant in your area?
- Some of the trees planted along public roads and walkways in the Klang Valley had to be felled by City Hall due to termites infestation.
- My article about this tree appeared in the New Straits Times Press on August 13th, 2010. The link is here.
This is also my entry for Fertilizer Friday. My grateful thanks to Tootsie at Tootsie Time for hosting Fertilizer Friday. To see what others have posted or to participate, visit here.
This is also my entry for Today's Flowers #66. My grateful thanks to the TF folks: Santilli, Denise, Pupo and Valkyrien for hosting Today's Flowers. To participate or view other floral displays around the world, click here.
This is also my entry for Ruby Tuesday. To view what others have for red today, click here.