The unusual red flowers of erythrina flabelliformis
are long (up to 3 inches) and tubular; each component has one large upper petal which curves round to enclose four smaller lower petals. The inflorescence is a cluster of several dozen individual flowers, pointing upwards when young then downwards when fully grown. At the base of each flower is a whitish calyx. When the flowers first bloom, in spring, the woody stems are leafless, but bright green leaves appear during early summer, as do brownish seed pods containing a few bright red beans, which are highly poisonous, though have found use in jewelry making, in necklaces. The stems and leaf stalks have a few curved spines.