96. Erythrina Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 706. 1753.
刺桐属 ci tong shu
Authors: Ren Sa & Michael G. Gilbert
Trees or shrubs [or perennial herbs], branches with prickles. Leaves pinnately 3-foliolate; stipules small; stipels fleshy and glandular; leaflets sometimes with stellate hairs. Inflorescence axillary or terminal, racemelike, noded, 2- or more flowered. Flowers conspicuous; bracts and bracteoles mostly deciduous. Calyx spathaceous, campanulate, or turbinate, truncate or 2-lobed. Corolla often red or orange, usually longer than calyx; petals extremely unequal; standard large, rounded or oblong, often folded longitudinally, erect or spreading, subsessile or long clawed, without appendages; wings short, sometimes absent; keels much shorter than standard. Stamens diadelphous; vexillary stamen free; anthers uniform. Ovary stipitate; ovules 2 to many; style inflexed; stigma small, terminal. Legume stipitate, mostly linear-oblong, often curved, dehiscent along ventral suture, rarely indehiscent, mostly leathery or woody, often constricted between seeds, not septate. Seeds 1-14, white, gray, or brown, rarely red with dark spots, ovoid; hilum lateral, oblong, without strophiole.
More than 100 species: tropics and subtropics; four species in China.
Erythrina corallodendron Linnaeus and E. crista-galli Linnaeus, and to a lesser extent E. caffra Thunberg, E. humeana Sprengel, E. lysistemon Hutchinson, and E. specicosa Andrews, have been introduced into China as ornamentals.