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Erythrina fusca Lour.

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Synonyms: Erythrina caffra, Erythrina viarum, Erythrina ovalifolia, Erythrina glauca
Common Name: Coral Tree, Chengkring, Purple Coral Tree, Coral Bean Tree, Lucky Bean Tree, Bucayo, Swamp Erythrina, Kaffirboom, Cape Kaffirboom, Chekring
Full Sun Moderate Water Fruit or Vegetable Coastal Plant Suitable for Roadsides Ornamental Flowers Tree


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Medium (16m-30m), Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 10 m to 15 m
Tree or Palm – Trunk Diameter 1 m


Native Distribution Central America, South America
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Coastal Forest, Riverine), Shoreline (Sandy Beach)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal

Description and Ethnobotany

Flowers Flowers have bright red or peach fleshy petals. The inflorescence is a raceme (stalked flowers held along one main axis).
Fruits Fruits are flattened woody pods (15-20 cm long, 2 cm wide). The pod has a velvet-like texture and is pointed at the apex. Each pod contains 3 - 15 ellipsoid seeds (1.2 cm long).
Others - Plant Morphology Growth Form: Deciduous, medium-sized tree with a round crown. Habitat: Occurs in tropical or subtropical lowland forests at altitudes from 0 - 2,000 m. Found near streams, swamps and seashores. Trunk: Short trunk is 1 m dbh (diameter at breast height which is ~1.4 m). Trunk and branches bear short prickles (1 - 2 cm long). Flaky bark is brownish grey or brown. Foliage: Leaf is trifoliate, consisting of 3 ovate leaflets (8 - 14 cm long, 7 - 12 cm wide). The terminal leaflet is slightly larger than the lateral leaflets. Propagation: Propagate by seed or large cuttings (2 m long, 6 - 10 cm wide). Cuttings need to be placed in very moist soil for rooting.
Cultivation Compared to other Erythrina sp, this species is relatively easy-to-grow. This species will not grow well in shade. It is susceptible to the stem borer Betocera sp., a ring borer from the Family Lecanidae and fungi (eg., Calostibe striipora).
Etymology The genus "Erythrina" is derived from the Greek word for red ("eruthros"). The reference is to the red blossoms of many Erythrina spp.. The species epithet "fusca " is Latin for brownish grey. It may refer to the bark colour.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Leaves)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable)
[Others]: Food: In Java, young leaves are consumed as a vegetable. Medicine: In Malaysia, the bark is used as a poultice to treat wounds. A decoction prepared from the roots is consumed or applied externally to treat beri-beri (a disease caused by a thiamine deficiency) . Other: This species can improve soil quality by adding nitrogen, because it has a mutually beneficial relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Farmers plant cacao and coffee in the shade of this tree to benefit from the added nitrogen. The seeds are poisonous and may be used as an insecticide against the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana).

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Poor Infertile Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Saline Soils / Salt Spray
Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm, Coastal
Usage Hazard - Cons Spines/Thorns - Stem/Branch, Spines/Thorns - Trunk, Toxic Upon Ingestion
Species record last updated on: 18 February 2022.