This work studied the central behavioural effects of hydroalcoholic extracts from the stem bark of Erythrina velutina and Erythrina mulungu on the elevated plus maze, open field, and rota rod tests in mice. These medicinal plants belong to the Fabaceae family and are popularly used in Brazil for their effects on the central nervous system. Single doses of the extracts were administered orally (200, 400 or 800 mg kg(-1)) or intraperitoneally (200 or 400 mg kg(-1)) to female mice. A reduction of the locomotor activity was observed in the open field test with both hydroalcoholic extracts after intraperitoneal treatment with all doses, but only with the highest dose after oral administration. In addition, oral and intraperitoneal administration of the extracts decreased the incidence of rearing and grooming. Decreases in the number of entries in the open (NEOA) and closed (NECA) arms of the elevated plus maze were observed after the administration of the highest dose (800 mg kg(-1), p.o.) of both hydroalcoholic extracts, and this effect may be due to the decrease in locomotor activity. These hydroalcoholic extracts failed to affect the motor coordination in the rota rod test. In conclusion, we showed that the hydroalcoholic extracts of E. velutina and E. mulungu have depressant effects on the central nervous system, which, at least partially, corroborates the popular use of these species as tranquilizers in Brazilian popular medicine.