Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
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A frequent shrub mainly of hammocks and found throughout much of Florida. The range extends through the southeastern coastal states from Texas to North Carolina and also Arkansas and Oklahoma.
The showy red flowers appear in tall terminal racemes from winter through summer, often before or just as the distinctive leaves emerge. Later in the year, the namesake poisonous red seeds develop in a loment that splits open when it matures. The alternate, compound, trifoliolate leaves are made up of trianglular leaflets that are somewhat three-lobed.
Of the dozen species of Erythrina found in the United States, this is the only one occurring in Florida. At one time it was proposed that the larger, more treelike specimens found in south Florida were a separate species - E. arborea - but recent treatments consider them all E. herbacea.