Erythrina poeppigiana

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Six months regrowth following hard pruning (pollarding) of trees in a coffee plantation in Costa Rica.

Natural tree form.


Hedgerows for alley cropping of maize (Zea mays) in Costa Rica.

Pruning one year old growth in a coffee plantation in Costa Rica.

Pollarded trees of Erythrina in a coffee plantation in Costa Rica.

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Scientific name

Erythrina poeppigiana (Walp.) O.F. Cook


Erythrina amasisa Spruce
Erythrina darienensis Standley
Erythrina micropteryx Urban
Erythrina pisamo Pos.-Arang.
Micropteryx poeppigiana Walp.


Family: Fabaceae (alt. Leguminosae) subfamily: Faboideae tribe: Phaseoleae subtribe: Erythrininae.  Also placed in: Papilionaceae.

Common names

dadap (Indonesian);  amapola de sombra, amasisa, barbatusco, brucayo, bucare, búcare, bucayo, bucayo gigante, cachimbo, cámbulo, elequeme, gallito, helequeme, immortelle, palo de boya, porÓ desombra, porÓ extranjero, porÓ gigante (Spanish).
The following names are used for several Erythrina spp.  Coral tree , mountain immortelle (English);  bois immortelle (French);  pito, porÓ (Spanish).

Morphological description

A large, tree with a moderately spreading crown rising from a long branchless bole.  Evergreen in humid tropical environments, but becoming fully or partially deciduous in seasonally dry environments.  Up to 25 m (occasionally 35 m) in height and 1 m (occasionally 2 m) in diameter.  Bark is greyish-brown to grey-brown, of variable roughness from smooth to slightly furrowed, with conical thorns on the branches and young twigs.
Leaves are alternate, trifoliolate, 15-30 cm long;  leaflets (folioles) rhomboid -oval or oval in shape, generally larger in saplings than in big trees;  two prominent cup-shaped glands below the paired lateral leaflets.
Flowers produced in orange or reddish racemes, 10-20 cm long; with 5 petals and 10 brown stamens per flower; upper petal wide and open.
Pods 12-25 cm long, falcate, slightly depressed between seeds, pointed at both ends, with a long peduncle ;  seeds brown, about 2 cm long, slightly curved, 1-2 cm long.  4,500 seeds/kg.


Native to:
Humid and subhumid tropical lowlands receiving 1,000-4,000 mm annual rainfall from Venezuala to Bolivia where it is evergreen .  Occurs in the riverine and upland forests of the Amazon and Orinoco Basins, and in the moist Pacific forests of Ecuador and Colombia.  Native to Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.