Uses Cultivated here and there as an ornamental, as a living fence post, as fuelwood species, and cork substitute Duke, Resides living fenceposts and hedges, the trees have been grown as support in vanilla plantations. According to Little and Wadsworth, it is seldom used for anything but fuel in Puerto Rico. The wood is whitish, soft, lightweight specific gravity 0.
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It has thorny branches and inch long leaves which grow on groups of three. The flowers are red and inches long and grow in loose clusters. The seeds are bright red and shaped like beans Ratsch , Erythrina berteroana grows in Guatemala, El Salvador, and southern Mexico. It is tough to grow from seed, but easy to grow from cuttings of mature branches. It likes a good amount of water but must not be over-watered, and does not tolerate any cold or frost Ratsch , The branches may be crushed to produce a fish poison.
The trees are also used to create living fences, and are grown in Theobroma cacao orchards to provide the plants with the shade they need to grow Morton Since ancient times, the beautiful bright red seeds of the E. The seeds also have a long history of being used by the Maya for purposes of divination, though the exact method used is not presently known.
To prepare the young flowers as a vegetable, they are harvested before they open and turn red, and may be cooked in any way. However, sedative effects are only experienced when eating large quantities. Once the flowers have opened, the calyx may be eaten as a vegetable. The young leaves and twigs are also edible when cooked, but are not particularly tasty. They may be simmered to create a sedative tea Voogelbreinder The sedative effects generally come on within thirty minutes of taking the tea Morton A tea prepared from the flowers is used in Guatemala to treat hormonal and menstrual imbalances in women, and to alleviate hemorrhages, dysentery, and anxiety.
It is thought that just placing the flowers and leaves beneath the pillow will allow for restful sleep Duke These alkaloids are responsible for the sedative effects of the plants. The effects of E. Spanish Priests who came to the Americas reported that local women often consumed the seeds for their aphrodisiac effects — specifically, deep sleep with intensely erotic dreams. Overdose leads to fever, chest and abdominal pain, and intoxication Ratsch , Consuming too many seeds may be fatally toxic, and at the very least will lead to vomiting and diarrhea, so care is very important when working with this plant.
Isthmian Ethnobotanical Dictionary. Fulton, MD, Morton, J. Ratsch, Christian. Rochester: Park Street Press, Soto-Hernandez, M. Snu Voogelbreinder,
Erythrina berteroana – Pito Coral Tree
Names[ edit ] Particularly in horticulture , the name coral tree is used as a collective term for these plants. Flame tree is another vernacular name, but may refer to a number of unrelated plants as well. Many species of Erythrina have bright red flowers, and this may be the origin of the common name. However, the growth of the branches can resemble the shape of sea coral rather than the color of Corallium rubrum specifically, and this is an alternative source for the name. Mullumurikku is a widespread name in Kerala. Description and ecology[ edit ] Asian pied starling Gracupica contra feeding on Indian coral tree E.
The branches are smooth and thorny. The flowers are pink or red, appearing at the same time as the leaves. They are large and tubular, each with a banner, wings and keels, nine stamens bunched together and one free, and a long pistil. The tree usually blooms from December to March, with pollination being performed by hummingbirds , usually by long-billed starthroats Heliomaster longirostris. It prefers acidic soils to pH 4 and tolerates high levels of aluminium in the soil. It flourishes in a range of temperatures and is probably frost resistant. The shoots and unopened flowers are cooked as a vegetable, and the young foliage is used as fodder for cattle.