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Useful Tropical Plants

Erythrina berteroana

Urb.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Erythrina neglecta Krukoff & Moldenke

Common Name:

Erythrina berteroana
Flowering branches
Photograph by: O. M. Montiel
Creative Commons License
Erythrina berteroana Erythrina berteroana Erythrina berteroana Erythrina berteroana Erythrina berteroana Erythrina berteroana

General Information

Erythrina berteroana is a small deciduous tree, abundantly armed with stout spines, with a broad, spreading, thin crown; it usually grows up to 10 metres tall. The bole can be 30cm in diameter, often branching from low down[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
,
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].
A multi-purpose tree, it is both gathered from the wild and also often cultivated for food and many other purposes. The young leaves, branchlets, and unopened flowers are in common use as a vegetable[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
]. Large quantities of the flower buds can be found on sale in local markets, sometimes in regions where the tree does not grow[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
]. They are also exported to areas where Latin Americans have moved[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. The tree is also grown as an ornamental[
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].

Known Hazards

The seeds have long been known to be poisonous, and in recent years there have been obtained from them several alkaloids, some of which resemble curare in their physiological action[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].
The crushed branches are reported to have been used as a fish poison[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].
All Erythrina species contain greater or lesser amounts of toxic alkaloids - these can be found in all parts of the plant but are usually most concentrated in the seeds. Concentrations vary from species to species, in some it is low enough that the plant is safely used as a food. In many, the alkaloids are utilized for their medicinal effects. We have no specific information on the concentration of the alkaloids in this species, but care should be exercised in any use of the plant that involves ingestion. These alkaloids have a curare-like action (obtained from Strychnos species) and can cause paralysis and even death by respiratory failure[
1309
Title
The Leguminosae; A Source Book of Characteristics, Uses and Nodulation
Publication
 
Author
Allen O.N.; Allen E.K.
Publisher
University of Wisconsin
Year
1981
ISBN
0-333-32221-5
Description
An amazing and comprehensive work, giving a brief guide to the many genera of the family Fabaceae and also the principle uses of the genus.
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Botanical References

331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/

Range

Northern S. America - Colombia and Ecuador, through Central America to Mexico; Caribbean.

Habitat

Wet to dry thickets or thin forest, abundant in hedges and fencerows, usually at elevations below 1,000 metres, but also found up to 2,000 metres[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height10.00 m
PollinatorsHumming birds
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A tree of low to moderate elevations in the tropics, where it is found at elevations from sea level to about 1,800 metres[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
]. It is found in areas where the annual rainfall ranges from 1,500 - 4,000 mm per year[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
]. It succeeds in areas with widely ranging temperatures and it is also presumed that in high elevations the plant is frost resistant[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
].
Succeeds in acid soils with a pH as low as 4[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
]. Tolerant of soils with a pH up to 8[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The tree grows in soils with a high aluminium saturation (more than 50 percent)[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
].
All species in this genus are believed to be self-compatible. Their flowers are adapted to pollination by birds, though various insects can also cause fertilization. The various species of Erythrina can all, as far as is known, be intercrossed to produce fertile hybrids. Those species most closely related to each other cross fairly readily, but even species that are quite distant can hybridize[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
485
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. Vol 75
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden: Boston.
Year
1988
ISBN
 
Description
Contains, amongst other things, an article on the flora of Tanzania, a treatment of the genus Xyris and one for the Panamanian Boraginaceae. It can be downloaded from the internet.
].
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].

Edible Uses

The young leaves, branchlets, and unopened flowers - cooked and used as a vegetable[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
]. They are usually boiled in two lots of water, which makes them probably safer for eating[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
]. They are said to have a soporific effect[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Flower buds - cooked and used like string beans, which they somewhat resemble as they appear on the table[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Medicinal

The seeds have long been known to be poisonous, and in recent years there have been obtained from
them several alkaloids, some of which resemble curare in their physiological action[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

A decoction of the young shoots is sometimes employed as a narcotic[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
]. There is a belief in Guatemala and Honduras that if leaves are placed under a pillow, they induce deep and refreshing sleep, a statement that needs further investigation before it is accepted as true![
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The tree is often planted for living fence-posts, a purpose that it serves admirably, large stems rooting readily and the stems being solid in the ground and long-lived[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
,
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
]. It is also used for landmarking, windbreaks and erosion control[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].
Most Erythrina species are very easy to grow from cuttings, with even quite large branches striking well. In addition, they generally fix atmospheric nitrogen, have nutrient-rich leaves that make an excellent soil-enriching mulch, often have open crowns that do not overly restrict light, and are also often quite thorny and can provide impenetrable barriers to protect from unwelcome intrusions. Many species are therefore used as living fences to provide boundaries and livestock-proof hedges[
1309
Title
The Leguminosae; A Source Book of Characteristics, Uses and Nodulation
Publication
 
Author
Allen O.N.; Allen E.K.
Publisher
University of Wisconsin
Year
1981
ISBN
0-333-32221-5
Description
An amazing and comprehensive work, giving a brief guide to the many genera of the family Fabaceae and also the principle uses of the genus.
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
The tree is sometimes used as a shade tree for coffee or to support chayote plants (Sechium edule) and vanilla[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].
A mulch made from the leaves of this plant has been shown to result in better phosphorus balances, higher microfauna populations and increased crops yield[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Other Uses

The handsome seeds of this and related species are often used for making bracelets, necklaces, and other decorative articles[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

The bark yields a yellow dye used to colour textiles[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

The white to yellow wood is light in weight[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
In spite of the fact that the trunks of growing trees are very solid and hard, the dry wood is light in weight, soft and weak, with a specific gravity of about 0.25. It is employed locally as a substitute for cork, for carving images of saints or small toys, and for other similar purposes[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
,
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].
The wood is used for fuel[
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].

Propagation

Seed - requires pre-treatment, either by simple scarification in order to permit moisture to penetrate the seed, or by pre-soaking the seed in warm water (around 40 °C) for 12 hours[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
]. Germination rates of 85 to 90 percent have been
obtained in nursery trials using seeds collected during the previous year and stored in cold chambers at 5 °C with a relative humidity of 30 to 40 percent[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
]. Germination may be carried out in boxes filled with washed sand, and seedlings may be transplanted to black plastic bags filled with a mix of soil, sand, and compost (2:1:1 in volume)[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
]. Nursery-grown seedlings can be planted in the field when they reach 20 to 30 cm tall. They can be established
either by planting directly in the field or by removing seedlings from nursery beds and planting as bareroot stock, first removing all leaves[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
].
When vegetatively propagated, large cuttings, 1.5 to 2.5 metres long and 6 to 10 cm in diameter, taken from 1 - 2 year-old branches may be planted up to 40 cm deep[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
]. This method is used to establish living fences[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-10-21. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Erythrina+berteroana>

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