Erythrina herbacea - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Erythrina herbacea , with the common name of Coral Bean , Cherokee Bean , Red Cardinal or Cardinal Spear , Pitos is a shrub or small tree found in the southeastern United States, northeastern Mexico and El Savior. They have also been registered in other Central American countries and as a species introduced in Pakistan.


The species grows as a low shrub or small tree, which reaches about 5 m high in areas where freezing does not affect it; in other places you can only reach 1.2 m. The stems are covered in curved spines. The leaves are yellowish green, 15-20 cm long and 6 cm wide. The leaves are divided into three leaflets with an arrowhead. The bark is smooth and light gray. The flowers are tubular and bright red and grow in long clusters, each flower is 4-6.5 cm long, and blooms between April and July, followed by bright red pods containing seeds, of which the tree gets its name.

Erythrina herbacea grows best in the soil sand and has a moderate tolerance to salt. It can be found in open forests, forest clearings and altered areas.

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Toxic alkaloids, including erysopine, erysotiopine, erysotiovine, erisovine, erytrinine, erytroresin, coralline, and erythroic acid hypahorin, are found throughout the plant. These cause paralysis after ingestion, just like curare.

Colorines, machetes machete Erythrina americana plant from Texas

The first representation of this tree in America is in the Florentine Codex , in the seventeenth century, also Francisco Hernandez de Toledo commented: "The juice of the flowers of this tree, gives children induces drowsiness and sleep "

Other sites explain that although the flower is edible, (2) seeds and everything else in the tree is highly toxic, in Mexico, ground seeds are used as poison for rats and the bark is used as a poison for fish.

The flower is edible, this tree is very popular among children who use flowers as a small knife to stab each other. Ground seeds and bark are used as poison. The tree is also used to make traditional handicrafts in many states of Mexico, like traditional dancing masks (3) and is also used as a fence post in many parts of Veracruz, Mexico, it is a beautiful and robust tree, some varieties even tolerate the cold.

In El Salvador is part of the gastronomy and are known locally as Pitos, there are various traditional recipes such as Pitos in Alhuashte, Pitos con huevo, Pitos in bean soup, etc. . High varieties of this plant are rarely used as a garden plant, but dwarf varieties are used as garden plants, as they tolerate frost, heat tolerance and come from dry places, and early bloom and attract hummingbirds.

Erythrina americana machetes machete machete

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