Coral Trees

Erythrina x sykesii

Members of the family Fabaceae (Pea) family, coral trees are large, deciduous trees that grow to between 12 and 18 metres tall.

Also known as flame trees, their pea pod-shaped flowers vary from red to deep orange in colour and bloom in clumps during spring, before foliage starts to form. The light-brown bark of the tree is characterised by a scattering of rose-like thorns.

Though coral tree seeds are infertile, the plant spreads through cuttings, roots or plant fragments that are buried in soil. Hardy in a range of North Island conditions, the coral tree grows fast, lives for a long time and has dense foliage which prevents native plants from become established.


Remove younger coral tree plants, making sure you dig up all roots. Once out of the ground, leave the plant to rot on concrete surfaces. Be careful not to leave any soil on the plant as it can easily re-establish itself.


To eradicate established coral trees, cut them back and then immediately paint with MetGel or picloram. Be careful not to paint other plants – particularly native species.

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