Cockspur coral tree (Erythrina crista-galli)

Cockspur coral tree is a deciduous shrub or tree. It is potentially a major weed of waterways and floodplain areas.


How does this weed affect you?

Cockspur coraltree is potentially a major weed of waterways and floodplain areas.

Where is it found?

Cockspur coraltree originates from northern Argentina, eastern Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay. In Australia it has been cultivated as an ornamental plant but has become invasive along waterways in coastal areas of New South Wales from Sydney to the Queensland border.

Distribution map

What does it look like?

Cockspur coral tree is a deciduous shrub or tree to 10 m high. It flowers from spring to early autumn and has showy racemes of scarlet flowers (twenty to forty flowers on a raceme 8-30 cm long) often occurring in clusters of 3.

Cockspur coral trees have cone-shaped prickles on the trunks, branches and stems.

Leaves are made up of three leaflets 3-6 cm long and 2-5 cm wide. Sickle-shaped seed pods 8-22 cm long contain 3-12 brown to black seeds.

Infestations become more obvious during flowering, and lose their leaves completely over winter.

More information

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Herbicide options

Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website

See Using herbicides for more information.

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: 1 part glyphosate to 1.5 parts water
Comments: Cut stump/drill/axe cut/inject
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate

Picloram 44.7 g/kg + Aminopyralid 4.47 g/L (Vigilant II ®)
Rate: Undiluted
Comments: Cut stump/stem injection application. Apply a 3–5 mm layer of gel for stems less than 20 mm. Apply 5 mm layer on stems above 20 mm .
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate

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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.
North Coast
Exclusion zone: whole region excluding the core infestation area of Richmond Valley Council, Ballina Shire Council, Lismore Council, Kyogle Council, Byron Shire Council and Tweed Shire Council
Regional Recommended Measure*
Whole region: The plant or parts of the plant should not be traded, carried, grown or released into the environment. Exclusion zone: The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. Land managers should mitigate the risk of the plant being introduced to their land. Core infestation area: Land managers should reduce impacts from the plant on priority assets.
*To see the Regional Strategic Weeds Management Plans containing demonstrated outcomes that fulfill the general biosecurity duty for this weed click here

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.
For further information call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244 or send an email to

Reviewed 2017