Fabaceae: Erythrina poeppigiana
This spectacular flowering tree in the bean family (Fabaceae) flowers at the height of the Costa Rican dry season, and can be seen most easily in the Central Valley all around San José where it is planted as shade for coffee plantations. The edible flowers taste and can be treated much the same as green beans. This species is known only from cultivation in Costa Rica, but many other, equally beautiful species are native. The family is one of the largest (ca. 650 species in Costa Rica alone) and economically most important both for food and precious woods.
© Barry Hammel 1996