Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Erythrina caffra Thunb.

Frost-tender, wide-spreading, semi-evergreen tree with sometimes prickly branches, prickly-stalked leaves composed of 3 leaflets, and dense, terminal racemes, to 15cm long, of orange-scarlet flowers with broad, arching, standard petals, in spring.  To 18m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘This beautiful shrub is a native of southern Africa, and flowered for the first time, we believe, in this country in the Count de Vandes stove in July last, where our drawing was taken, we have heard that it has also flowered this summer at Wormleybury.  No figure, has to our knowledge, been hitherto published of this very beautiful species.’  [BM t.2431/1823].  There is some confusion between the plant figured in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine as Erythrina caffra Thunb. and that published in the Botanical Register under the same name [BR f.736/1823].  The former is probably correctly identified, the latter being Erythrina humeana Spreng., a dwarf species from southern Africa, which see.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.423/1845].


Erythrina caffra Ker-Gawl. (1825) = Erythrina humeana Spreng.  BR f.736/1825.  RHSD (1951) gives E. humeana as a synonym of E. caffra.  A plant under the name Erythrina humeana was also grown at Camden.  [See Erythrina humeana Spreng.]

Erythrina caffra Blanco (1845) = Erythrina ovalifolia Roxb.

Published Dec 17, 2009 - 04:46 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2010 - 11:57 AM

Figured are the broadly heart-shaped leaves and raceme of orange-scarlet flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.2431, 1823.

Erythrina caffra Thunb. | BM t.2431/1823 | BHL

Family Fabaceae
Region of origin

South Africa

Common Name

Cape kaffirboom, Lucky bean tree

Name in the Camden Park Record

Erythrina Caffra 

Confidence level high