Erythrina poeppigiana is a fast-growing tree, reaching 30 to 35 m in height and more than 1 m d.b.h. The gray bark has conical thorns, primarily on the branches and young twigs.
Erythrina poeppigiana is not demanding of soils, growing very well in heavy soils poor in nutrients and adapting to acid soils.
The bark, seeds, and roots have medicinal properties because they contain some alkaloids. They are also used in insecticides. The roots and parts of the tree are macerated and used to stun fish so they can be caught easily. The trees are planted as ornamentals and the seeds are used in necklaces and ornaments.