Hinton Ampner Garden

Erythrina crista-galli

Coral Trees or Cock's Comb


The south front of the house/terrace border.


A hardy woody perennial 2m x 1.5m (6ft x 4ft) with strange brilliant red pea like flowers that provide a superb splash of autumn colour. In warm regions it is a deciduous tree but in cooler ones, a woody perennial. Native to East Bolivia and Argentina. The branches are spiny and the leaves are leathery with prickly stalks, The deep red flowers, 5-6cm (2-2.5in) long are borne in terminal racemes 30-60cm (12-24in) long from late summer to autumn. The name Erythrina means coral tree and crista-galli means cock's comb.

Site and Care:

Does best in fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun. Prune in late winter or early spring for shape and to maintain a healthy framework. Propagation is by seed in spring. Softwood or semi-ripe cuttings taken during summer are difficult to root.