Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Brachychiton acerifolius

Sterculiaceae

Illawarra Flame Tree or Flame Tree

Caution: irritating hairs - extreme care must be taken to avoid the irritating hairs inside the seed pod. These hairs irritate the skin, and pose a risk if inhaled or if they enter eyes.

Description

This tree grows to 35 m and loses its leaves in the dry season. The vibrant flowers are bell-shaped and bright coral red. They appear in spring on leafless branches. The dark seed pod contains numerous seeds embedded in interlocking hairs in a honeycomb-like husk.

Where it is found

The Illawarra Flame Tree is widespread in subtropical rainforest on the coast to the escarpment, north from the Shoalhaven River into Queensland. It is a popular street tree, grown for its brilliant red flowers.

Uses

  • The yellow seeds can be roasted and eaten, but Aboriginal people took special care with the preparation of seeds because of the dangerous hairs inside the seed pod.
  • Fibre from the inner bard was used to make twine for fishing nets and fishing lines.

Further information

Click here for further information on Brachychiton acerifolius.

Brachychiton acerifolius
Illawarra Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius). Water-bearing roots of the kurrajongs (Brachychiton species) of the Central Desert can be tapped during of drought.

Brachychiton-acerifolius
Brachychiton acerifolius: leaves and seed pods, habit.