Crista-galli is a very popular tree with outstanding flowers. The tree is small, normally reaching 16-26 feet in height, has furrowed reddish-brown bark and woody, a somewhat crooked trunk and spiny irregular branches. It tends to produce multiple trunks and become shrub like if unpruned. The crown is rounded or umbrella-shaped, spreading and moderately dense. Leaves are alternate, trilobate, dark green, turning a golden color before falling, but quickly replaced; leaflets are 3-6 x 1 1/2 inches, smooth on the top but with small curved spines on the back and petiole. Flowers are borne singly or in groups of 2-3 on elongated bunches; blooms are 2 x 1 inch and vary in color from scarlet to pink with white markings. Flowers attract hummingbirds and insects. Fruits are dry, slightly curved pods turning from green to dark brown, 3-8 inches long and containing 8-10 chestnut brown seeds; seeds are used for propagation and reportedly poisonous if ingested. Crista-galli will grow in a range of well-drained soils and is frost tolerant (down to 20 f); the tree needs pruning to maintain a desirable shape and to stimulate flowering. It is susceptible to aphids and root rot. Crista-galli is a popular park and garden tree for its shade and very showy flowers. It can also be planted along streets, but does produce considerable litter. Crista-galli is a good species for planting under utility lines. It is the national tree of argentina and uruguay.