The Bat’s Wing Coral Tree (Erythrina vespertilio) gets its name from the shape of its leaves. The term vespertilio meaning bat, makes reference to the ‘bat shaped leaves’ found on this straggly tree.

Growing anywhere between 6 to 12 metres in height, this deciduous tree has a smooth corky grey-brown bark and thorns appearing on the trunk and branches.

Its habitat includes open forest and woodland, shrubland, rocky gorges, and arid arid regions. Found throughout the state of Queensland up to Cape York, down to the far northern part of NSW, far northern part of Western Australia and Northern Territory, and the arid heart of Central Australia.

Common name
Bat’s Wing Coral Tree, Bean Tree, Sturt Bean Tree, Grey Corkwood, yulbah.

The seeds of the Bat-wing Coral Tree is know as ‘ininti’ seeds and are collected in the traditional area of the NPY Lands. The seeds are collected by the women dried out. Narrow pieces of wire are heated over a fire, a hole is then burnt though the middle of each seed, then left to air out. The seeds are strung together with wool, string or elastic, and often mixed with gumnuts and quangdong seeds, making beautiful jewellery pieces. The seed can come in different colours that range from yellows through to oranges and rich reds. The bean tree features in aboriginal mythology.

Related links: Alice Springs Desert Park Batswing Coral Tree; Olive Pink Botanic Garden Bean Tree

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Phylum: Charophyta
  • Class: Equisetopsida
  • Subclass: Magnoliidae
  • Superorder: Rosanae
  • Order: Fabales
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Genus: Erythrina
  • Species: E. verspertilio
  • Binomial name: Erythrina vespertilio