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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - June 06, 2013

From: Magnolia, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of plant with crimson tubular flowers
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I saw this lovely flower in a field in Cleveland Tx. It was growing in a patch with maybe 4 or 5 other of the same yet only in that area. The flower is crimson red, long and tubular that grow on a woody stem that seems to grow taller as it flowers. The flowers turn to a large bean pod (much like a mesquite bean), the leaves are shaped like english ivy except has red veins. The leaves and stalk where the leaves grow have small thorns but no thorns on the flower stalk. It must like full sun because there was no shade.

ANSWER:

This sounds like Erythrina herbacea (Coralbean), a member of the Family Fabaceae (Pea Family).  It is, indeed, a beautiful flower but with nasty thorns on the stems.  Here's more information from Aggie Horticulture and the Archive of Central Texas Plants from the University of Texas.

 

From the Image Gallery


Coralbean
Erythrina herbacea

Coralbean
Erythrina herbacea

Coralbean
Erythrina herbacea

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