5 Seeds Erythrina lysistemon lucky bean
Erythrina lysistemon is a lovely, small to medium-sized, deciduous tree with a spreading crown and brilliant red flowers. It is a handsome tree at any time of the year, and its dazzling flowers have made it one of the best known and widely grown South African trees.
This is a stocky, thickset tree that often branches low down and usually grows up to 10 m in height, occasionally reaching 12 m. The bark is smooth and dark gray to gray-brown and is not thickly corky. Short, hooked prickles are sparsely and randomly scattered on the trunk and branches. The leaves are trifoliolate (compound leaves with 3 leaflets), and each leaflet is large, usually up to 17 x 18 cm. The petiole, rachis and the midrib have hooked prickles on them. The common coral tree blooms in early spring (from August to September) and it produces its flowers before its new leaves or just as the leaves begin to show.
Flowers The flowers are a beautiful clear scarlet and are carried in short, dense heads, about 9 cm long, on long, thick stalks. The standard petal (the large uppermost petal) is long and narrow and encloses the other petals and the stamens. The flowers produce abundant nectar that attracts many nectar-feeding birds and insects, which attract the insect-feeding birds as well.
The fruit is a slender, black pod that can be 15 cm long and is sharply constricted between the seeds. The pod splits while still attached to the tree to release bright red 'lucky bean' seeds.