Machette

 
 

Machette, or coralbean, is native to Mexico, Central America, the Greater Antilles, Colombia and Venezuela. It has been planted throughout the tropics for ornament, to make living fences, for reforestation of degraded soils, and for animal feed. It reaches a height of 30 feet, with a trunk 1.5 or more feet in diameter that branches close to the ground. The leaves have a long petiole and three leaflets, the largest 5 or more inches long. Flowers are up to 3 inches long and are grouped in erect racemes which vary in color from coral pink to orange. Fruits are pods up to 6 inches long that open to liberate orange seeds. It flowers during winter and spring, after shedding most of its leaves. Pods open during spring. The generic name means red-colored, in reference to the flowers. The species name honors the Italian naturalist Carlo Giuseppe Bertero (1789-1831).


The photographed tree is west of the Piñero Building, near the fence separating the campus from the Alfonso Valdés Boulevard. It is the only member of the species in the campus.

Erythrina berteroana (Fabaceae)