Wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis)

Pea family (Fabaceae) | Deciduous Trees and Shrubs plant group | Also known as Hawaiian coral tree, Tiger's claw

A deciduous tree with showy, claw-shaped orange, red, yellow, white, or green flowers. Fruits are woody pods with red-orange seeds. Leaves with 3 round/triangular leaflets.

Identification Hints

Wiliwili is a deciduous tree native to Hawaii. It can grow to heights of 35-45 ft and has spines on the branches and trunk. The leaves made up of 3 round to triangular leaflets and the tree sheds these leaves in the summer to conserve water. The tree flowers after the leaves are dropped and produces very showy, claw shaped flowers that range from orangish-red to yellow to green or white. Wiliwili fruits are woody pods that twist open when ripe to reveal the seeds inside.

Did You Know?

The name Wiliwili means "twisted" and refers to the way the seed pods twist open when ripe. The genus name "Erythrina" means "red" and probably refers to the red seeds. This tree is commonly used for landscaping and the wood was once used to make fish net floats. The flowers and the seeds have been used to make leis. The seeds of this tree will sink in water, whereas the seeds of other species of Erythrina will float.

Distribution in the US
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