Form: A shrub or small tree sometimes categorized as a semi-succulent.
Leaf retention: Deciduous.
Growth rate: Moderate to rapid.
Mature Size: 5-15' high and 4-12' wide.
Flowers: 3" long, red, tubular, in clusters.
Bloom: Late winter or spring, often before leaves emerge.
Fruit: Long brown seed pods with bright red to orange, toxic beans.
Leaves: Green, fan-shaped leaflets appear in summer rainy season.
Leafless most of year unless watered.
Stems: Gray to light brown, curved, woody, somewhat swollen, allowing
water storage. Short curved spines. Stems may freeze to ground in winter
but new ones will re-sprout from roots. First year stems do not produce
Roots: Large swollen roots provide water storage. A nitrogen-fixing
Wildlife: Attracts hummingbirds.
Toxic / Danger: All parts of plant are toxic, especially colored beans.
Stems and leafstalks have spines.
Origin: Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico.
Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 9-11 for best flower production.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to part shade.
Water once established: Monthly. Twice a month to weekly may
encourage leaves and/or flowers.
Soil: Well drained, pH 6.6-7.8 (neutral to slightly alkaline).
*Do not use a nitrogen fertilizer.
Prune: After last freeze, remove frost damage.
Litter: Low except for spring cleanup.
Propagation: Seed or cuttings.
Uses: Hummingbird plant.
Other common names are Coral Bean and Chilicote.
If a winter freeze occurs, this plant may not flower because
flowers appear on the previous year's undamaged stems. It
may never flower in a region with yearly freezes.
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