Its flower fill of color the forests of South Africa
Erythrina caffra flowers of an intense and bright orange-red. Its successfull scientific name defines it to perfection: Erythrina from the greek erythros meaning red and caffra which is the Latin name of the Kaffirs region of Africa where it is native, ie South Africa.
South Africa’s beautiful coral tree in full bloom in early May photographed in the Elche city of Alicante province (Spain). The flowers open before the leaves, which further enhances the beauty of flowering. This tree can reach 12 feet in cultivation and up to 20 meters in its natural habitat. The most spectacular examples are found in the Alexandria Forest that is part of the Addo Elephant National Park in the Cape Region. Its branches are protected by spines short and thick. The leaves are trifoliate and have no spines on the rachis and petiole. The wood is brittle and lightweight, so should plant it in a place sheltered from strong winds.
Erythrina caffra spectacular inflorescences that seem to fire flares. The flowers produce no perfume. Pollinators,
mainly birds, are attracted by the striking red color of the petals and
the nectar reward of nourishing the flowers produced in abundance. Each
flower contains up to 10 drops of nectar (about 1 cc.) And each cluster
consists of about 80 flowers, which secrete therefore about 800 drops
of nectar (about 80 cc.). Considering
that in the crown of a mature tree can have up to 2000 inflorescences,
ie up to 160,000 flowers, the total calculation gives us a production of
1,600,000 = 160,000 cc drops. = 160 gallons of nectar per tree. The Erythrina caffra effort to ensure the next generation is truly titanic.
It has been demonstrated pollination of the flowers of this legume species by the starlings Onychocnathus morio, the nightingales of the genus Pycnonotus sp., the yellow weavers of Ploceus subaureus species, the sunbirds of genus Nectarinia sp., the birds of the genus Orioles sp., and many other birds in the middle of spring can be seen in