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. The plant is leafless most of
the year unless watered.
Stems: Gray to light brown, curved, woody, somewhat swollen, allowing water storage. The stems
have short curved thorns. They may freeze to the ground in winter but will re-sprout from the roots.
First year stems do not produce flowers.
Roots: Large and swollen to provide water storage, nitrogen-fixing*.
Wildlife: Attracts hummingbirds.
Toxic / Danger: All parts of this plant are toxic, especially the colored beans.
The stems and leafstalks have thorns.
Origin: Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico.
Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 10-11 for best flower production. Root hardy to zone 9.
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 the last freeze of winter, remove frost damage.
Litter: Low except for spring cleanup.
Propagation: Seed or cuttings.
Uses: Hummingbird plant, ornamental.
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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