Erythrina x sykesii

Coral tree

Also known as:

Flame tree

Family: Fabaceae

Origin: Australia

Close up of a cluster of coral tree flowers.
Large dark orange pea-like flowers form in clusters on branch tips.
Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Not a legally declared pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Deciduous tree < 18 m tall. Trunk and branches have stout prickles. Leaves are compound with three leaflets, oval to heart-shaped, < 20 cm long and hairy maturing to smooth. Flowers are borne in clusters and are scarlet/dark orange, with one large recurved petal and a keel formed by two lower petals fused together. Seed pods are not formed.

What you need to know

Although coral tree is not a legally declared pest plant, it may still be invasive in some situations. Consider lower risk alternatives for your garden, such as native plants.

Habitats

Coastal areas, forest and riparian margins, wetlands, open and disturbed sites, cliffs, roadsides.

Dispersal

Vegetative spread from suckering and stem fragments, dispersed by water. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste and deliberate plantings.

Impact on environment

Can form dense thickets, outcompeting and displacing native vegetation. Can alter riparian habitat.

Control

Site Management

Always treat standing plants, do not cut down as all stems will regrow. Allow to fully die before felling. Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: All parts.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill.

Biocontrol

Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Drill and inject trees with 10g metsulfuron-methyl per 1L of water if safe to do so. Drill 18mm holes (tangentially angled downwards) in a spiral up the trunk.

For 50mm stems drill one hole. For 100mm stems drill two holes. For larger stems drill holes 150mm apart. Foliar spray any stem fragment regrowth with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Close up of the underside of coral tree leaves.
Leaves are oval to heart-shaped and up to 20 cm long
Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr
Two coral trees in bloom on the side of a hill.
Also known as flame trees, they are fast growing and long lived.
Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr