Erythrina herbacea

coralbean, Cherokee bean

Fabaceae (Leguminosae)

wildlife plant   wildlife plant   wildlife plant

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Use this link to get more info about this plant from the USF Institute for Systematic Botany

Plant Specifics

Form: shrub
Life Span: long-lived perennial
Size: Height: 3-20 ft    Width: 2-10 ft
Flower Color: flower color   flower color      pink,red
Fruit Color: fruit color   fruit color      red,brown
Phenology: deciduous
Noted for: Showy flowers, showy fruits, thorns


Recommended Uses: Forming a thicket for wildlife protection.
Considerations: 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: light requirement   light requirement   light requirement  
Moisture Tolerance:
Salt Tolerance: Highly salt tolerant
Soil or other substrate: Sand, loam
Soil pH Range: 5.4 to 7.6


wildlife plant   wildlife plant   wildlife plant  
Attracts hummingbirds and other long-tongued pollinators. Due to its dense foliage and thorny stems, coral bean serves as a refuge for small birds and animals.
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:

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures

Suitable to grow in:


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.