Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Erythrina insularis F.M.Bailey

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Flowers [not vouchered]. © Garry Sankowsky
Flowers [not vouchered]. © Garry Sankowsky
Flowers and buds. © B.S. Wannan
Inflorescences. © B.S. Wannan
Fruit and seeds. © B.S. Wannan
Leaves [not vouchered]. © Garry Sankowsky
Branches and leavse [not vouchered]. © Garry Sankowsky
Cotyledon stage, [cotyledons not seen] semi-hypogeal, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Bailey, F.M. (1897) Queensland Agricultural Journal 1(3): 228. Type: Queensland. Cook District: Turtle Island, June 1897, F.M. Bailey 29 (holo: BRI; iso: MEL).


Tree 4-12 m tall, deciduous. Bark mostly smooth, with pale longitudinal fissures, grey to brown. Trunk and branches with or without prickles; terminal branchlets without prickles.


Leaves uniformly green, not waxy below. Petioles unarmed, 45-135 mm long. Terminal leaflet deltoid to rhomboid, 60-100 mm long x 55-120 mm wide; apex obtuse or acute; base obtuse to broadly cuneate; margins sometimes slightly sinuate.


Inflorescence borne on leafless branches, 15-40-flowered; fascicles 3-flowered, often two or three fascicles at the same position along rachis, fascicle groups 2-7 mm apart on rachis, pedicels 7-11 mm long at anthesis. Calyx tubular in bud, 15-19 mm long, truncate, a longitudinal ventral split developing as corolla expands, extending almost to base of the calyx. Petals initially pale yellow, senescing to orange or scarlet, prominently veined; standard 25-41 x 12-15 mm, apex obtuse, strongly recurved and exposing staminal column, wings and keel very similar, wings 12-16 mm long; keel petals 14-15 mm long, free, obtuse. Stamens 35-40 mm long, anthers 3.2-4.2 mm long, brown. Ovary hairy, ovules 8-11.


Pods often curved at maturity, 7-17 cm long, 1.3-1.8 cm wide at widest point, conspicuously narrowed between seeds, glabrous, dehiscent. Seeds 2-7, ellipsoid, 9.5-12 mm long, uniform in colour, scarlet to red, with pale or dark hilum, often remaining attached to pod and easily visible.


Taproot thickened, carrot-like (Daucus carota). Cotyledons not recorded. First pair of leaves triangular, 42.5 mm long x 45 mm at widest point. At the tenth leaf stage: trifoliate, leaflet blades rhomboid or broadly lobed, base cuneate or broadly cuneate; petiole and rhachis usually with a few small thorns; stipules about 1.9-2 mm long; stem often with a few small thorns. Apex or stem and Leaf buds with dense stellate or dendritic hairs, becoming glabrous. Seed germination time in 10 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, endemic to Queensland. Grows in semi-evergreen notophyll vine forest, often as an emergent.  On coral islands or cays, and a few records from mainland Australia.

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