Count Your Blessings!

With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

Count Your Blessings!
Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
Count Your Life With Smiles And Not The Tears That Roll.
..... Author unknown.

Knowing me, Knowing you..... Aha.....!

Notice Board

Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
Welcome to our exotic world of everlasting summers and tropical rainforests!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Erythrina fusca, The Red Flower Tree

This post is dedicated to Ms Tatyana of My Secret Garden for being the first commenter of my previous post "Wordless Wednesday - Crinum Lily".

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?

  1. 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.
  2. My article about this tree appeared in the New Straits Times Press on August 13th, 2010. The link is here.
This is my entry for Blooming Friday, 2nd Week of November. The theme today is "Winter time storage". My grateful thanks to Katarina at Roses and Stuff for hosting Blooming Friday. To see what others have posted or to participate, click 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.


  1. Autumn Belle, thank you for showing this breathtaking tree in such detail. The most satisfying plant pictures for me are those like this that show the growth habit, the overall plant and closeups of the flowers themselves. What different flora you have there compared to my place in Scotland! Do I understand from your post then that these red flowers have no scent? xx Sheila

  2. I'll give you my congratulations for your blog that I met through a "botanical garden"
    hello Andrea

  3. What a woderful tree. Such delicate flowers. It gives me some hope for a coming season. Here, in Sweden, everything has gone to sleep for the winter. Have a nice week end.

  4. Sheila, this flower is so red but it has no smell at all! Maybe it's beauty is enough to attract the bees. Just like beautiful girls don't have to do much to attract the guys! lol.

    Andrea, I like your skywatch picture of this tree against the Petronas Twin Towers.

    Lillebeth, yes, this tree is blooming here now. How I wish I have this tree in front of my house. The tree is small and I can even touch the beautiful flowers.

  5. My youngest son is visiting KL now after the UPSR exam. You may have seen this plant near the entrance to Suria KLCC.

  6. I must be morbid because I thought the blooms looked a little like fingers with blood on them. But I still think it is a lovely tree. THanks for the info . I would love to see this in PERSON. Ta Ta

  7. Autumn Belle I am seeing so many great plants from you that are new to me. This one has beautiful blooms. Maybe you cannot have beauty and fragrance both.

  8. WOW just gorgeous. It sure is breathtaking! you are introducing me to soo many new plants. Thank you soo much

  9. Rainfield, you kid must be feeling on top of the world now, with the UPSR exams over and holidays just round the corner. I'm sure he will enjoy himself there.

    Rosey, now I see what you see too. The buds do look like many many fingers on a hand. Try to think of red nail varnish instead of the blood, haha.

    Lona, Deb, now I am begining to notice the tree too. I find that trees do have beautiful flowers, some scented too. I have never looked at trees that way. I always tend to associate trees with shade and fruits only. Maybe it was because the flowers are so high up and difficult to reach with the hands or see with the naked eye.

  10. Oh yeah, one more thing. My hugs back to you, deb.

  11. Hello Autumnbelle,

    What a beautiful flower. I love its common name and what it means.

    I love flowering plants that look beautiful when the flowers drop to the ground. I think flowers look beautiful while lying on the ground. Chinese New Year is a good analogy :)

  12. That is beautiful! Amazing what beautiful and unique plants you are able to grow there!

  13. what a gorgeous tree!!! It is just so pretty!
    thanks for all the information you shared today! have a great weekend and thanks for linking in!

  14. What beautiful plants! I confess my geography is terrible. Is it winter in Malaysia now, and how cold does it get? Do you have such exotic blooms all year?
    Thanks for your great blog - it's wonderful to see gardens from other parts of the world. And one other thing - you have a terrific name.

  15. Noelle, Dirt Princess, Michelle, Tootsie. I glad you all like this tree too.

    Deborah, thank you for your compliment regarding my name. It was so sweet of you. Here in Malaysia, we don't have the 4 seasons that you enjoy. However, we have everlasting summers and therefore many plants bloom the whole year through. Our climate is equatorial.

  16. This is a pretty tree and the red blooms are striking!! I don't think I've seen this tree here but we have one kind which is commonly found. It's the Corky Coral Tree/Erythrina stricta var.suberosa. The blooms look somewhat similar.

    The flowers have no scent but attract a lot of bees and birds. Loved going through your photos!

    Have a great weekend!

  17. Amazing! You've got such interesting trees in Malysia!
    Enjoy your weekend!

  18. These red blooms are always very striking. They make quite an appearance where ever the tree is placed. Love the shade that the tree provides too :-D

  19. If I could I would definitely have that tree in our yard. I love red, too. Very pretty post.

  20. Hello Autumn Belle, this is a very beautiful tree, I´ve never saw it before. You said red is auspicious...mmmm...I´m going to think of it.
    Muchos cariños
    María Cecilia

  21. No, I haven't seen your tree before, but it looks lovely, with the intense red flowers. Now I can only look forward to christmas trees, with a bit of red decoration maybe I will get close ;)

  22. These are the coolest exotic looking blooms, Autumn Belle! Thanks for sharing your great photos ;)

  23. I do enjoy seeing your exotic plants Autumn belle this is a beauty

  24. There aren't any trees like that in Nebraska. I love your photos! When the blooms first start coming out they remind me of lipstick.

    Thanks for your comment on my clematis. I've never had them grow from their seeds before that I can recall. Have you? Maybe it's a difference in our climates.

  25. What a gorgeous tree..and what beautiful photos!You know how to capture such life and beauty in your photos!!Awesome post! as always!!

  26. Your photos and flowers are gorgeous! I mentioned we share the same tropical climate - I'm in Florida - but are these tropical beauties you grow easy to care for? I have a lot on my plate at the moment and plants that need extra TLC may not survive at the moment!

  27. These grow along my streetside. Often I do take cuttings and place them for deco during christmas time.
    And they really do last as cut flowers, even the flowers fall, they still retain the red blood colour and look lovely.
    Only setback - too many ants.

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Beautiful flowers pictures.
    This 'Bunga Dedap' is a favourite of Burung Serindit (Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot).

  30. Hi Autumn Belle,

    You've got a gorgeous bunch of the Erythrina glauca here, better than that we saw at KLCC. By the way, the Andrea you replied to earlier in these thread of comments is not me,i guess you are blessed with 2 Andreas following your posts. I went to his blog and yes, he is male. Andrea or sometimes Andreas is male in Latin, French or most European countries. It resembles the word androecious (male portion) describing male plants in contrast to genoecious or female plants.

  31. Kanak, I have check out the corky coral tree. It does look somewhat similar, with beautiful red flowers but the flowers are a bit different in some way. Plants are like us, having different nationality, haha.

    Katarina, Stephanie, Any, Maria, Mia, Lynn, Joanne, thank you very much for the nice and sweet comments.

    Sue, when you say lipstick, the red of the petals does look like a shade of lipstick. Actually the petals are smooth to touch, just like silk. I have never grown any clematis yet. My glory bush (tibouchina urvilleana) is the closest I can get to a clematis. Clematis blooms are indeed lasting.

    Kiki, whenever I see a beautiful tree, I think of you and your beautiful prose. Oops, I just forgot to photograph the tree’s bark too. I think barks are interesting too.

    Gardenfrisk, actually this tree doesn’t need any care. They just grow by the roadside under the Almighty’s care. Our municipal councils and park management grow them. But too bad, they didn’t grow one in front of my house.

    James, I can count on you for creative ideas with flowers and plants. Wow, they can be used as cut flowers too. Yes, I do notice that the flowers retain the red colour after they fall. The ground will look like strewn with remnants of red fire cracker paper as in the new year celebrations.

    Andrea, yes you are right. Earlier was Mr Andrea. When I type my first reply, I was wondering what you meant by meeting at a botanical garden. Now I understand! How foolish of me and thanks for highlighting it to me. It was my oversight not to have checked the profile first.

    Tabib, how I wish the Burung Serindit will come visit us at the city. I love parrots, especially ones that can talk.

  32. Fantastic tree. And the red flowers are so beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing
    Gunilla in Sweden

  33. It's also commonly known as the Coral Bean or Purple coral tree, there's a lot of these trees around here in Singapore too.

  34. Thanks for nailing the ID of this spectacular tree and presenting such beautiful photos, Autumn Belle! I'm always drawn to its stunning red flowers but never able to enjoy its real beauty as they're held high up the trees, seen in our neighbourhood and elsewhere. So your macro shots are really a treat for me!
    BTW, how's your son getting along...hope all's well and he had totally recovered.
    Take care!

  35. Gunila, thank you very for your visit and nice comments.

    Jama, coral bean’s botanical name is Erythrina herbacea. The flowers are slightly different.

    Jacqueline, my son has been discharged from hospital. His hand is still in a cast but he is back to his active self now, although with a bit of inconvenience.

  36. How pretty!!! We have coral bean bushes...I've never seen them in tree form. Awesome.

    My R T is seaworthy...OUCH! Click here

  37. That's a rare flower, indeed! haven't seen that anywhere. the next time i go to KL i'll look for it.

  38. Beautiful red flowers. I have never seen them before.

  39. Anni, Nice A, Loree. Welcome to My Nice Garden and thank you very much for the nice comments.

  40. Thank you for posting. There is actually one growing here in South Texas where I've been doing volunteer work and I couldn't figure out what it was. I knew it looked familiar. I actually have one of these in central Texas where I'm from, but I have to keep mine in a pot since it gets too cold, so mine never got this big. Thanks again.

  41. It is such a pleasant surprise to find this tree in Texas! Thanks for letting me know :)

  42. <3 This Beautiful Bloom of the Erythrina glauca...My Nice Garden ** Congratulation @ Have A Wonderful Day !

  43. <3 The Beautiful Blooms of the Flowers! Congratulation @ Thanks ! Have A Wonderful Day !

  44. Is ok to plant this tree in 10'x12' garden, as the roots are quite massive?? I d love to have this tree as a green shelter in my garden, but im worried if the roots might tear up my tile.. I ve checked about this tree from most nursery in sg buloh especially, but most of them doesnt know much.. So, i d be happy if u can help me out about the suitability to plant it in a small space.. Thanks..

    1. Dear Anonymous, I am so sorry that I can't help you much because I am not an expert in tree planting. You can get advice from landscapers, some contact are in the following link:

      The Dedap tree is a small tree but based on my recent observation, many similar trees planted by city hall along public roads have been cut down, some due to termites infestation. If you are worried about the roots tearing up your tiles, you need to do some kind of ground protection/root barrier, hence the landscapers will be able to help. There are some fruit trees such as longan, mango, chiku which are dwarf varieties that do not grow too tall and can be planted in a small area. Some sellers boasts that they can fruit even in a container.

  45. Thanks for the info on this Erythrina Fusca! My aunt game me a cut branch to propagate a while back and I didn't know where in my garden to put it. This particular specie is very uncommon here in Bangkok, and I didn't really know what the tree really look like, how it will grow, and how it will look in my garden. After reading your article, I might after all make this tree prominent in my garden.


Words are like the voice of the heart... Confucius

Note: If you are unable to comment on my latest post, click on the post title to reopen the post and try writing your comments again. Comments under "Anonymous" will be automatically treated as spam if no name is included.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin