Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Erythrina variegata L.

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Fruit. © CSIRO
Pods and seeds. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Linnaeus, C. von (1754) Herbarium Amboinense : 10. Type: Herb Amboin.

Common name

Bat's Wing Cork Tree; Coral Tree


Deciduous; leafless for a period between July and October. A tree with conical prickles on the trunk and/or the branches. Blaze odour resembling that of fresh green beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) or peas (Pisum sativum).


Pairs of globular glands present on the upper surface of the compound leaf axis where the middle and lateral leaflets are attached. Leaflet blades about 13-20 x 7-17 cm. Twigs very prickly.


Calyx about 20-30 mm long, clothed in stellate hairs. Standard much longer than the other petals. Stamens 10, all filaments united in a tube. Usually flowering when leafless.


Pods +/- circular in transverse section but constricted between the seeds. Pods about 17-20 cm long. Seeds +/- reniform. Testa dull red.


Cotyledons thick and fleshy, about 20 mm long, without venation. First pair of true leaves cordate. At the tenth leaf stage: leaflet blades +/- cordate; a single gland at the apex of the petiole and similar glands near the point of attachment of the middle leaflet; petiole without spines; stipules linear, about 5 mm long, hairy; stem armed with numerous thorns. Seed germination time 8 to 286 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NT, CYPNEQ, CEQ and southwards to south east Queensland. Occurs at low elevations close to sea level. Grows in beach forest on both sand dunes and rocky shorelines. Also occurs in Africa, the Indian Ocean islands, Asia, Malesia and the Pacific islands.

Erythrina indica var. phlebocarpa (Bailey) Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(3): 776(1926). Erythrina phlebocarpa F.M.Bailey, Queensland Agricultural Journal 1(5): 368(1897), Type: Newcastle Bay, Cape York Peninsula, Frank L. Jardine.
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