Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tiger's Claw, East Indian Coralbean, East Indian Coral Tree, Sunshine Tree, Samoan Sunshine Tree
Erythrina variegata

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Erythrina (er-ith-RY-nuh) (Info)
Species: variegata (var-ee-GAY-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Erythrina indica var. picta
Synonym:Erythrina indica
Synonym:Erythrina orientalis
Synonym:Erythrina variegata var. orientalis
Synonym:Erythrina parcellii

One vendor has this plant for sale.

5 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)
over 40 ft. (12 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Seed is poisonous if ingested
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From hardwood cuttings
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

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to view:

By mournian
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There are a total of 18 photos.
Click here to view them all!


9 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive exoticatropical On Jul 22, 2014, exoticatropical from Melbourne Beach, FL wrote:

This is a beautiful tree and a good grower. We sell this one at our nursery, Exotica Tropicals.

In the past few years in Florida, this tree has had to deal with an invasive pest called the Gall Wasp. This wasp lays its eggs in the newer growth of the tree and its larvae will chew on the new growth causing stunted and crinkly looking leaf tips.

It's a bummer because it grew so well before this wasp turned up, but there is a fairly easy solution to keep them looking great. You have to keep the tree inoculated with systemic pesticide (Imidacloprod) so that the larvae die before they can cause damage.

If you keep the treatment up, the tree will look great. I use Bayer Tree and Shrub 12 month liquid formula.

It is sduch a beautiful tree with its brightly colored leaves that it is worth the extra effort.

Negative eliasastro On Mar 30, 2012, eliasastro from Athens
Greece (Zone 10a) wrote:

Negative goes not to the plant, but to many seed traders who intentionally sell other Erythrina species seeds for Erythrina variegata (also called Erythrina indica var. picta) seeds, because they now it is a sought after plant.
Better to buy a plant that you see it has variegated leaves.

Positive Plants4myPots On Jun 16, 2011, Plants4myPots from Palm Bay, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I bought basically a chunk of tree in some not so fancy looking dirt at a church rummage sale a few months ago because I thought the yellow in the leaves was really pretty. The guy told me to repot the chunk when I could see some roots poking out of the bottom of the pot.

I don't know how long I can contain this potentially 40 foot tree, but I'm curious how long I can keep this beautiful zone 10b plant alive in 9B. If it's as easy as cutting off a chunk and sticking it in dirt, I wonder if I could just propagate it indefinitely...

Can't wait to see it flower!

Positive hothouse_flower On Feb 7, 2011, hothouse_flower from Aptos, CA wrote:

i planted two seeds day after xmas and both grew! they are third and fourth sets of leaves and spend all day outside. i really hope i can keep these going- im zone 9 coastal- we'll see

Positive junglegringo On Jan 26, 2010, junglegringo from San Jose Tzal [south of Merida]
Mexico (Zone 11) wrote:

Here in San Jose Tzal [30KM south of Merida] Yucatan Mexico... we Have Erythrina indica-picta
common name Sunshine Tree
spanish Colorin pinto

fast growing from seed, cuttings I planted a BIG branch and it grew roots quickly.


Neutral mnapeterson22 On Aug 16, 2008, mnapeterson22 from Deerfield Beach, FL wrote:

This tree is native to Hawaii, and get EGW pest. (erythina gull wasps) which give the bubbly effect and the tree starts to die. I have been in contact with U of Hawaii and they say to spray tree with a product that has (MERIT) registered trademark product every several months. they are working on a product for the US. This spared my tree, we really thought it was a goner!!

Positive desertboot On Sep 29, 2004, desertboot from Bangalore
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

Spectacular when in full bloom. Thrives well in Zone 10a to 11. Characterised by distinct "streaky" bark: pale green and brown
In August, was gifted an assortment of 20 cuttings (semi-hardwood, woody stem and hardwood heel; each approximately 4 feet in length, 3" dia) of both E.variegata and E.indica from upcountry Coorg where the trees are planted for shade between coffee. All cuttings, incidentally, were from two trees that had come down in a gale. The cuttings were treated with rooting compound prior to placing. The good news is that 16 of them have taken root and are sprouting strongly: bright green triads of leaves. It'll probably take them a few years to start flowering, but then, that's always half the pleasure of the journey!

Positive einaudi On Sep 28, 2004, einaudi from Hana, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

E. variegata (common names include Coral Tree and Tiger's Claw) is a striking tree, strongly branched, gray bark, growing to 60-70 feet. It is deciduous, with spring leaves preceded by bright scarlet flowers 2 inches long arranged on terminal racemes that are up to 8 inches long. Our trees in Hana bloom in February and are followed by leaves that are triangular shaped, bright green with pale yellow-green veins (my guess is that the species name 'variegata' comes from the color difference between leaf and veins??).

Positive TamiMcNally On Jun 9, 2004, TamiMcNally from Lake Placid, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

From India
Fast growing
Drought tolerant

Positive palmbob On Jun 5, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Tall, sometimes strikingly upright and narrow (sometimes not) large tree with diamond shaped variegated leaves and red flowers that open up along the end of a branch for about 12" or more. Tree I saw in Hawaii was done flowering, and leaves were just coming in so I have no photos of flowers... oh well . Leaves didn't look too variegated, either... hmmm

Positive mournian On Apr 19, 2003, mournian wrote:

The Coral Tree blossoms first, then leaves out with broad green foliage. The tree is ablaze with clusters of bright red blossoms shaped much like the beak of a bird. With no leaves to block the view, the red flowers make it a hard tree to ignore. Then, as the flowers age, dropping off layer by layer, the leaves begin to show. By the beginning of summer in San Diego, all the red is gone, replaced by thick, rich green.

The image attached was taken in mid-March, 2003.

The tree is growing in poor soil, primarily red-sandy soil atop very dense hard-pan. It is doing well, and has done for more than ten years.
ŠAnthony Mournian


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Boca Raton, Florida
Melbourne Beach, Florida
Mulberry, Florida
Vieques, Puerto Rico

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