Characteristics of Tiger’s Claw Tree (Erythrina variegata) in the Wild

Erythrina variegata
Tiger’s claw or Indian coral tree is a species of tree from the genus Erythrina originating from tropical and subtropical areas in eastern Africa, the Indian subcontinent, northern Australia, islands in the Indian Ocean and eastern western Pacific Ocean to Fiji.

The tiger’s claw tree has many synonymous names in various countries, including Tiger’s claw, Indian coral tree, and Sunshine tree. In Indonesia, it is called Dadap, Deris, Dalungdung, and Galala itam. While the Latin name synonyms include Erythrina indica and Erythrina variegata var orientalis.

In Sri Lanka, the tiger’s claw flowers blooming on trees is associated with the advent of the Sri Lankan New Year (April). In Sinhala (local language of Sri Lanka) it is called ‘Erabadu’.

 

Characteristics of Tiger’s Claw Leaf

Erythrina variegata Leaf
Source : flickr.com/The Tree Library

The leaves are large, compound, give birth to three leaves, pinnate, each blade is round or oval, and has a length x width of about 20 cm. The petiole is 10-15 cm long.

 

Characteristics of Tiger’s Claw Flower

Erythrina variegata Flower
Source : flickr.com/The Tree Library

The flowers are arranged in bunches, about 6 × 8 cm in shape, red from orange to dark red, growing at the end of the branches. The flower usually appears when the leaves fall.

 

Characteristics of Tiger’s Claw Fruit

Erythrina variegata Fruit
Source : flickr.com/Forest and Kim Starr

Tiger’s claw fruit is thick and dark (brown, red, or glossy purple), oval-shaped about 15-20 cm × 1-2 cm, and contains 5-10 seeds.

 

Characteristics of Tiger’s Claw Tree

Erythrina variegata Tree
Source : flickr.com/The Tree Library

The tiger’s claw tree is thorny and medium in size, it can grow to 20-25 meters in height and 80-100 cm in diameter. It has dense clusters of red and dark red flowers and black seeds.

It spreads naturally on the shores of the coast and in the area around it, especially near river estuaries or marshes.

The tiger’s claw grows well in humid and semi-arid areas, with rainfall of 800-1500 mm per year and 5-6 wet months (consistent rain).

Trees are often found from coastal areas to the highlands of about 1,300 m above sea level. Although capable of living in a wide variety of soil types, the tiger’s claw prefers deep, slightly gritty, well-drained soil.

Tiger’s claw is tolerant of submerged water, clay, and rocky limestone soils. The most suitable soil acidity for the growing tiger’s claw trees is between 4.5 – 8.0 pH.

 
TIGER’S CLAW TREE BENEFITS

Since time immemorial, the tiger’s claw tree has been known as a traditional medicinal tree and is often planted as a decorative yard tree as well as shade trees in parks and roadsides.

Young leaves of the tiger’s claw can be used as a vegetable. Young leaves are also nutritious to increase mother’s milk, make sleep better, and to smooth menstruation.

Boiled tiger’s claw leaves can be used as a poultice to relieve rheumatism.

Pepagan tiger’s claw bark has properties as a laxative, urine laxative, and sputum thinner.

In Vietnam, the leaves are used to wrap fermented meat.

In the Philippines, the bark and leaves are used in alternative medicine.

The leaves can be used for animal feed as they have good nutritional value for most livestock.

The seeds are poisonous raw but can be cooked and eaten. Along with the skin, the seeds are used to poison fish.

 
HOW TO CULTIVATE TIGER’S CLAW TREE

To reproduce the tiger’s claw trees, you can do this through seed or stem cuttings.

Seedlings – Seeds for sowing should be soaked in warm water at 80 ° C for 10 minutes, followed by plain water until overnight. Then planted in a pot tray or polybag, but can also directly into the soil. The seeds will germinate in 8-10 days. When it is still easy to grow quickly, the tiger’s claw can reach a height of 30-50 cm in 8 weeks.

Stem Cuttings – Cut tiger’s claw stems that are 5 cm or more in diameter and 2-3 meters long. Then let stand for about a day before planting. Better yet, if planted in a slightly dry stem condition to avoid fungal attack.

If the cuttings are large, for example, 15 cm in diameter, they need to be left standing (kept in a standing position) for about a week before planting.

 

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