The Truth Tree is the translation of the common name in isiXhosa for an Erythrina or Coral Tree. These are indigenous to the Eastern Cape, although they are part of the pea family and related species are distributed worldwide in tropical and sub-tropical areas. Distinctive bright red flowers appear in winter and the tree is quite breathtakingly beautiful. The flower is used by a surprising breadth of countries as the national floral emblem including Argentina, Uruguay, states of Japan and Thailand. It also has huge religious significance in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism.
It is said that the Xhosa believe that if you tell a lie in the shade of a Truth Tree, terrible things will befall you. As a result, important village council meetings, especially around critical issues and disputes, etc. would always be held in the shade of the Truth Tree.