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THIS MONTHS CHOICE OF OUR SOUTH AFRICAN FLOWERS
FAMILY : Erythrina
What would winter in KwaZulu Natal be without our striking Erythrinas! Erythrina lysistemon is the most common of the Coral Trees with scarlet blooms. Erythrina caffra - the Port Shepstone Coral Tree - has colour variations from orange-scarlet to cream. They grow well from truncheons. These medium sized trees need frost free conditions. Erythrina humeana, the Dwarf Coral Tree, is ideal for small gardens and flowers in summer. Erythrina seeds or "Lucky Beans" are poisonous, but can be very ornamental layered with other indigenous seeds in glass cylinders. Individual Erythrina flowers are tube shaped, curved and about 5cms long, clustered at the ends of branches rather like cockscombs. Erythrinas need a dry winter to flower really well.
Using a sharp knife scrape the woody stems for 5 cms from the end. Crush the ends with a stone or hammer and place in 10cm boiling water and allow to stand until cool. Place in a bucket of cold water and leave for two to three hours or until required.
Extensively used in free line and modern designs, they make a bold statement and need little additional material than perhaps driftwood and vines to set them off.
The heavy stems require sturdy mechanic/large pinholders for good achorage and heavy containers are most suitable.
Kindly submitted by Tania van der Watt.
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