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Useful Tropical Plants

Erythrina tahitensis

Nadak.

Fabaceae


If the taxon Erythrina sandwicensis O.Deg., is valid, then the entries below for any plant uses in Hawaii should be transferred to that species[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Erythrina monosperma Gaudich.

Common Name: Hawaiian Coral Tree

Erythrina tahitensis
Drawing of the leaves, flowers, seedpod and seeds
Photograph by: Sinclair, I., Indigenous Flowers of the Hawaiian Islands, t. 18 (1885) [I. Sinclair]
Creative Commons License

General Information

Erythrina tahitensis is a small, somewhat spiny, deciduous tree growing around 5 - 15 metres tall with a short, stout, crooked or gnarled bole 30 - 90 cm in diameter. The spreading branches are stiff, and the broad thin crown is wider than it is high[
350
Title
National Tropical Botanical Garden
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ntbg.org/plants/choose_a_plant.php
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
General information on almost 400 species, with descriptions, habitats and some uses.
,
399
Title
Hawaiian Native Plant Propagation Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://pdcs.ctahr.hawaii.edu:591/hawnprop/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the propagation of a wide range of Hawaiian plants.
].
The plant is used locally to supply medicines, a fibre and a useful wood. It is also used in agroforestry as a living fence and to revegetate highly eroded areas. The plant flowers when leafless, and is very showy at this time[
399
Title
Hawaiian Native Plant Propagation Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://pdcs.ctahr.hawaii.edu:591/hawnprop/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the propagation of a wide range of Hawaiian plants.
].
The plant is classified as 'Critically Endangered' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

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

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.

Range

Pacific - Hawaii, French Polynesia.

Habitat

Dry forests in Hawaii, from sea level to an elevation of 600 metres[
350
Title
National Tropical Botanical Garden
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ntbg.org/plants/choose_a_plant.php
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
General information on almost 400 species, with descriptions, habitats and some uses.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusCritically Endangered
Medicinal Rating *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height10.00 m
PollinatorsBirds, Insects
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details


Succeeds 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.
]. It survives extended drought and high winds, but growth is slow under such harsh conditions[
350
Title
National Tropical Botanical Garden
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ntbg.org/plants/choose_a_plant.php
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
General information on almost 400 species, with descriptions, habitats and some uses.
].
Plants commence flowering when 3 - 4 years old[
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

None known

Medicinal

The plant contains alkaloids that have powerful narcotic and purgative effects[
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.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The tree is being used in revegetation programs, using endemic species to rehabilitate highly eroded areas in Hawaii[
350
Title
National Tropical Botanical Garden
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ntbg.org/plants/choose_a_plant.php
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
General information on almost 400 species, with descriptions, habitats and some uses.
].
It has been planted as living fences[
350
Title
National Tropical Botanical Garden
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ntbg.org/plants/choose_a_plant.php
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
General information on almost 400 species, with descriptions, habitats and some uses.
].
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.
].

Other Uses

A fibre is obtained from the bark and is used for making nets[
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.
].

The bright red seeds are used for making leis[
350
Title
National Tropical Botanical Garden
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ntbg.org/plants/choose_a_plant.php
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
General information on almost 400 species, with descriptions, habitats and some uses.
].

The wood is reported to be the lightest of Hawaiian wood. It was used for surfboards, canoe outriggers, and fish net floats[
350
Title
National Tropical Botanical Garden
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ntbg.org/plants/choose_a_plant.php
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
General information on almost 400 species, with descriptions, habitats and some uses.
,
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.
].
The dry wood is used in the manufacture of composition cork[
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.
].
Cuttings of half-ripe wood[
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.
].
Heeled cuttings of young growth[
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.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2018-12-10. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Erythrina+tahitensis>

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