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Useful Tropical Plants

Erythrina rubrinervia

Kunth

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Common Name:

Erythrina rubrinervia
Flowers
Photograph by: Alejandro Bayer Tamayo
Creative Commons License
Erythrina rubrinervia Erythrina rubrinervia

General Information

Erythrina rubrinervia is a usually armed, deciduous shrub or small tree with a broad crown; it can grow from 2 - 10 metres tall[
369
Title
Flora of Costa Rica
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History; Chicago
Year
1938
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but an excellent treatment of the area. Available for download from the internet.
,
411
Title
Trees and Shrubs of Mexico
Publication
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol 23
Author
Standley P.C.
Publisher
Smithsonian Institution; Washington
Year
1926
ISBN
 
Description
Although dated, it contains a wealth of information on the trees and shrubs of Mexico, including many of their uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is sometimes grown to provide shade in coffee plantations and is used as a living hedge.

Known Hazards

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

369
Title
Flora of Costa Rica
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History; Chicago
Year
1938
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but an excellent treatment of the area. Available for download from the internet.

Range

Northern S. America - Colombia, through Central America to Mexico.

Habitat

Dry or wet places at low elevations[
333
Title
Tree Species of Panama
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ctfs.arnarb.harvard.edu/webatlas/mainframe.php?order=s
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Factsheets on all the tree and shrub species of Panama, giving identification guide, brief guide to the species and some uses. A vast, but rather incomplete work as of 15/07/09.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Shrub
Height7.00 m
PollinatorsBirds, Insects
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details


Erythrina species are tolerant of a range of soils, often tolerating poor fertility, but generally grow best in a sunny position in a moderately fertile, well-drained soil[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
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

Flowers and buds - cooked[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
369
Title
Flora of Costa Rica
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History; Chicago
Year
1938
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but an excellent treatment of the area. Available for download from the internet.
]. Eaten like string beans, which they resemble in flavour[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
469
Title
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol. 27
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Smithsonian Institute; Washington.
Year
1928
ISBN
 
Description
Contains a Flora of the Panama Canal zone
]. There is a belief that eating the flowers results in great drowsiness, a supposition that may be well based, since the seeds of some species of Erythrina are known to have narcotic and even poisonous properties[
369
Title
Flora of Costa Rica
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History; Chicago
Year
1938
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but an excellent treatment of the area. Available for download from the internet.
].

Young leaves - cooked as a vegetable[
369
Title
Flora of Costa Rica
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History; Chicago
Year
1938
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but an excellent treatment of the area. Available for download from the internet.
]. Added to soups[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

The tree is used throughout much of Central America for forming live hedges and for living fence posts[
369
Title
Flora of Costa Rica
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History; Chicago
Year
1938
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but an excellent treatment of the area. Available for download from the internet.
,
469
Title
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol. 27
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Smithsonian Institute; Washington.
Year
1928
ISBN
 
Description
Contains a Flora of the Panama Canal zone
].
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 has been used to supply shade in coffee plantations, but is not very suitable because it sheds its leaves during the dry season, and the wood is so soft that it is easily broken by the wind[
369
Title
Flora of Costa Rica
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History; Chicago
Year
1938
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but an excellent treatment of the area. Available for download from the internet.
,
469
Title
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol. 27
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Smithsonian Institute; Washington.
Year
1928
ISBN
 
Description
Contains a Flora of the Panama Canal zone
]

Other Uses

The wood is very soft[
369
Title
Flora of Costa Rica
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History; Chicago
Year
1938
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but an excellent treatment of the area. Available for download from the internet.
].
The wood of Erythrina species is generally greyish-white in colour, light in weight but strong, with a spongy texture and not very durable. The wood from the various species is used for purposes such as sieve frames, surfboards, dugout canoes, outrigger canoe floats, boxes and small art carvings[
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.
].

Propagation

Fresh seeds, and those harvested within 3 - 6 months of maturity, can be sown without any special treatment. Germination rates are generally high and are often 100%. Seeds over 6 months old may take between 12 - 18 months to germinate due to their hard seed coat which becomes tougher with age. Soaking them in hot water, or abrading their seedcoat, can reduce this time considerably. They may be added to water which has just fallen below boiling point and left in the water as it cools for a minimum of one hour, but up to 12 hours for seed 3 years or more old, and then sown in the usual way. Alternatively, file the seeds with a slender triangular file. A groove can be made through the sides of the seed coat with care so as to avoid damaging the cotyledons or embryo, which usually results in the death of the seeds from fungal attack or in malformed and weakened seedlings[
564
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. Vol. 66
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; Missouri.
Year
1979
ISBN
 
Description
Contains an article on propagating Erythrina spp. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Seeds of most species produce strong seedlings from healthy seeds in almost any well-drained soil, with a minimum of trouble from damping-off disease[
564
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. Vol. 66
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; Missouri.
Year
1979
ISBN
 
Description
Contains an article on propagating Erythrina spp. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-11-15. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Erythrina+rubrinervia>

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