Last week, the United States Deparment of Agriculture confirmed that a new host plant has been found for Asian soybean rust. Coral bean or cherokee bean has been determined to sustain rust spores. At present, the Asian soybean rust has been found in six counties in Florida and one in Texas.
April 28, 2008 By AgWeb.com/United States Department of Agriculture
April 28, 2008
During the week of April 21, soybean rust was confirmed on a new host, Erythrina herbacea (common name coral bean or Cherokee bean) collected in Marion County, Florida. Coral bean is a common pine flatwoods plant throughout the southeast that is also used as an ornamental.
USDA says soybean rust can currently be found on kudzu in six counties in Florida and one county in Texas. Soybean sentinel plots are being established throughout the Gulf Coast region. Kudzu is also greening-up rapidly in this area of the country.
Cherokee bean is a showy semi-herbaceous member of the bean (Leguminosae/Fabaceae) family. Within most of its range coralbean, as it is also commonly called, produces herbaceous stems from a woody base that are typically about 3 ft (0.9 m) in height but sometimes more. In areas that experience freezes the stems are killed back in winter but in frostfree areas the plant will form woody stems and may grow to 16 ft (5 m) in height. This South Florida form is sometimes referred to as E. arborea , a name that most authorities now consider a synonym.
Coral bean is deciduous and has interesting compound leaves made up of three leaflets that are uniquely shaped with pointed tips and a bulge in the middle. In late spring and early summer showy scarlet blossoms appear. These long flattened tubes are about 2 in (5.1 cm) long by approximately 1/8 in (0.3 cm) in diameter. They are arranged in clusters at the stem tips and appear custom designed for hummingbird beaks. Flowers are followed by large pods that split open to reveal bright red seeds in late summer and fall.