Coral Tree is the name given to this plant in its native land – Brazil. The name refers to the colour of the, which may be more than 5 cm (2 inch) long – a rarity in the Leguminosae family. They are arranged in rich inflorescences, sometimes composed of as many as 50 flowers. The calyx is green, short and bell-shaped; the corolla is leathery. The largest petal, called the standard, curves inwards. The other petals – the wings and keel – enclose the stamens and pistil. The flowers are pollinated by birds. The fruit is a legume. The plant typically has thorny branches and odd-pinnate with thick leathery leaflets. It dies back after flowering and produces new growth in spring.
This woody plant does best in glassed-in entrance halls, verandas or conservatories. It requires abundant light and cool dry conditions in winter. The optimum temperature range is 2°-8°C (36°-46°F). Transfer the plants in their containers to the garden or to a balcony in late May. Propagate by commercialor tip taken in April. Plants grown from flower sooner than those grown from , which may take three to four years. To ensure bushy growth, cut back mature plants in February.