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Coral tree flower
The Coral Tree
"Deep in the bush a splash of red
Is where a Zulu Warrior bled,
And where his life blood caked the sands
A sturdy Erythrina stands
And spreads its lucky beans around
To add some joy to hallowed ground.
A fitting monument to those
Who vanquished all their battle foes
And fell unflinching, not a cry.
And that’s the way men ought to die."  
By Donald Clark

The Coral Tree or Erythrina Abyssinica is native to Ethiopia and its name in Amharic is k’wara (qwara ), k’orch o k’orra. In English is known as lucky bean tree or flame tree.
This tree belongs to the Genus Erythrina that is a group of trees of tropical and subtropical regions of the world that have characteristic intense red flowers, as the name of the Genus comes from the Greek erythros, meaning red. To this Genus also belongs the tree Erythrina Crista-galli or Ceibo, of which its flower is the national emblem of Argentina.

Coral treeThe Erythrina Abyssinica, is distributed all over Africa and is very resistant to draught, termites and fires because its roots grow very deep into the ground. It can be found in the highlands, in areas of up to 2,400 meters over sea level. It’s a medium size tree, between 5 to 15 meters high.
Among its medicinal applications there is its bark, which is used to treat trachoma, and to apply over burns and snake bites. The wood is very light and easy to carve, and is used for small tools, drums, toys and necklaces. 
It is recognized as soil improver, as ornamental tree and for shade. Its magnificent flowers attract honey bees and that is why it is commonly present near bee hives. Its leaves are also used to feed livestock.
Coral tree seedsIt is used as living fence to divide lands and is very protected by farmers. It is left standing when clearing land for agriculture, which indicates how valuable it is. The seed of this tree is very toxic when crushed but is widely used by children to make crafts such as necklaces and bracelets.

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