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Kaffirboom coral tree Erythrina caffra

Kaffirboom #4

Photo credit: Dave Baiocchi,

Erythrina caffra, commonly called Kaffirboom coral trees or Coast coral trees, usually top out around 40ft-60ft (12m-18m). They are deciduous with a spreading form, and are notable for their bright orange, broad and curved flower petals. The foliage of Kaffirboom coral trees is light green and consists of three leaflets, broadly ovate in shape. Their bark is gray and striated. These trees thrive in tropical environments like their native South Africa. Erythrina means "red" and caffra refers to the Kaffirs region of South Africa.

One of Santa Monica's most famous avenues is San Vicente Boulevard, due to the 156 Kaffirboom coral trees that line the median from Ocean Avenue to 26th St. They were originally planted in the 1950s, and the species has since been named the official tree of the City of Los Angeles.

The representative coral tree from the San Vicente median stands at approximately 25ft (8m) with a canopy width of 30ft (9m). The canopy spread may in fact be wider; the canopy has been pruned to the parkway width. The diameter at base height is 35in (89cm).

Santa Monica's Urban Forestry division, as part of a proactive management strategy, has been vigilant about replacing coral trees along San Vicente Boulevard in recent years to preserve the avenue's distinct beauty for future generations.


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Santa Monica Public Landscape Division, 2600 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405 · 310.458.8974 ·
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