Camera FujiFinepix 2800Zoom
Taken in Ballito, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
Climb a tree – it gets you closer to heaven.
Erythrina caffra, the Coast Coral Tree, also known as the Lucky Bean tree, is not just a decorative tree, it is also an important component of the ecosystem, providing food and shelter for a variety of birds, animals and insects. Many birds and insects feed on the nectar and Vervet monkeys eat the flower buds.
It grows in the coastal and riverine fringe forests from Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal to the Humansdorp District in Eastern Cape and in a pocket further north on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast (South Africa). It is generally taller than Erythrina lysistemon, the flowers are orange-scarlet, and not red, and a cream-flowered form is occasionally seen. The standard petal is shorter and broader so that the stamens stick out of the flower giving it a whiskered look. In most other respects it is very similar to Erythrina lysistemon, and was in fact regarded as the same variable species for many years and, when not in flower, is difficult to tell apart.
(Afrikaans) gewone koraalboom, kanniedood, (Xhosa) umsintsi, (Venda) muvhale, (Tsawana) mophete, (Sotho) mokhungwane, and (Zulu) umsinsi.
Since I took the picture of this beautiful specimen in December 2009 in Ballito, the Municipality has cut it down – unbelievable! Cannot for the life of me imagine what the thinking behind that is…
The seedpod with the bright orange seed ‘beads’.
Their seeds is the actual reason for the name “Lucky Bean Tree”. Bright orange, with a black ‘eye’ in the centre on one side, they hang from pods normally containing about 10 seeds, eventually popping out and dropping to the ground.
They flower from the cold winter months up to spring. When ever I get a chance, I pick up these beautiful ‘beads’ and have built up a bit of a collection.
A part of my collection of Coral Tree “beads”