Erythrina vespertilio is a tree native to north and north-east Australia. Its common names are Grey Corkwood, Bat's Wing Coral Tree, and the more ambiguous "bean tree". In the Western Desert language it is also known as ininti. It was widely traditionally used by Aboriginal Australians in Central Australia for making woomeras and coolamons. The Warlpiri, among others, would use the wood to make shields, used either for warfare or ceremonially. These shields could then be used for making fire with the friction method.
The bark is also considered to have traditional medicinal uses. The fruit contains alkaloids and the stem contains isoflavonoids. Phaseollidin (a flavonoid) showed cytotoxic activities in vitro against prostate cancer cell lines at high doses.
The seeds are used to make decorations.
- Iranshahi M., Vu H., Pham N., Zencak D., Forster P., Quinn R.J.,"Cytotoxic evaluation of alkaloids and isoflavonoids from the Australian tree erythrina vespertilio". Planta Medica. 78 (7) (pp 730-736), 2012.
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