Botanical name: Erythrina crista-galli
Common Name: Cockspur Coral Tree, Cry-baby Tree
Erythrina crista-galli, often known as the cockspur coral tree or cry-baby tree in America, is a flowering tree in the family Fabaceae, native to Argentina, Uruguay, southern Brazil and Paraguay.
It is widely planted as a street or garden tree in warm temperate to tropical areas due to its bright red flowers.
Its specific epithet crista-galli means “cock’s comb” in Latin, in reference to the flowers resembling the comb of a rooster. Genus name comes from the Greek word erythros meaning red, a reference to the colour of the flower. Teardrops of nectar that drip from flowers explain the common name cry-baby tree in some countries.
The cockspur coral tree is the national tree of Argentina, and its flower the national flower of Argentina and Uruguay where it’s called Ceibo.
Erythrina crista-galli is a decidous small tree with spiny branches. Flowering occurs mostly during spring and early summer, when the leaves start to appear.
The flowers are scarlet red to dark red in colour and pea-shaped in appearance. They are borne in large, elongated clusters at the tips of the branches. The largest and uppermost petal of each flower is bent upwards or backwards when the flowers are fully open.
The flowers are rich in nectar and are visited by insects, butterflies and birds. Erythrina flowers are commonly pollinated by perching birds (passerines).
Elda Sousa (Official Tourist Guide)
Photo Courtesy of Marla Castro