Erythrina x sykesii


Erythrina: From the Greek erythros 'red', referring to the colour of the flowers
sykesii: Named after William Russell Sykes (1929-) an English born botanist who emigrated to New Zealand in the late 1960s and worked for the DSIR Botany Division and DSIR Land Resources. Sykes specialize din the taxonomy of cultivated plants, naturalized plants and made studies of the South Pacific Islands, especially the Kermadec and Cook Island groups.

Common Name(s)

coral tree, flame tree



Flora Category

Vascular - Exotic

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs




Deciduous tree up to 12-(18)m high; trunks with stout prickles; twigs round, smooth, clothed in short hairs when young but becoming glabrous, armed with prickles; prickles stout-based, scattered, 5-10 mm long. Leaves densely clothed with short medifixed hairs when young, becoming +/- glabrous; leaflets broadly ovate to deltoid, +/- acuminate, obtuse to truncate at base, entire (7)-10-20 cm long; lateral leaflets somewhat smaller than terminal; stipules lanceolate, 5-10 mm long, caducous; stipels c. 1 mm long. Inflorescences axillary, clustered at tips of branches, clothed in brown medifixed hairs when young; flowers numerous, shortly pedicellate, subtended by caducous bracteoles. Calyx spathe-like, bilbiate, or irregularly shallowly toothed. Standard scarlet, c. 50-60 mm long, wings and keel c. 1/2 length of standard, orange to pale orange; filaments mauve. Pods not formed. (Webb et al 1988).

Similar Taxa

Can be distinguished from E. crista-galli by the axillary inflorescences clothed in brown hairs, the keel roughly 1/2 the length of the standard, and the leaves broadly ovate to deltoid (hairy when young).


August, September, October.

Flower Colours

Orange,Red / Pink

Year Naturalised



Australia (parents from N. America and Africa)

Reason For Introduction


Life Cycle Comments



Cuttings and dropped branches take root easily.


Not seen as this is a sterile hybrid (Likely parents are E. coralloides and E. lysistemon)

References and further reading

Gardner, R. 1992. Coral trees Erythrina Papilionaceae of Auckland. Auckland Botanical Society Journal, 47: 32-35.

Gardner, R.O. 1997. Erythrina x sykesii. Auckland Botanical Society Journal, 52: 39-42.

This page last updated on 16 Jan 2013