Our Guide to Brachychiton Selections

Looking for a feature tree? Brachychiton is a show-stopper! The genus consists of approximately 30 species of large shrubs or trees, all except one originating from Australia.

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It takes a really special tree with special offerings to be called a feature tree.  Often used to break from single-species planting, to frame an entrance or as a focal point for the eye, a feature tree needs to live up to great expectations and offer amazing colour, structure, texture and/or form.

Brachychiton is a species that does just that. Brachychiton consists of approximately 31 species of large shrubs or trees, all except one, originating from Australia.

Many of them are called pachycauls, (trees with large or swollen trunks) with the most noticeable one being the iconic Queensland Bottle Tree (Brachychiton rupestris). With healthy commercial numbers available, we are experiencing really good demand for this distinctive specimen as a feature tree in landscaping projects.

The seeds for the bigger Brachychiton develop in hard follicles creating a boat shaped fruit which will remain on the plant for some time after the foliage has developed. These are very distinctive looking and make interesting educational specimens for playgrounds, schools and kindergartens, in fact anywhere looking to create a sensory garden.

While the Illawarra Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius) has the most eye-catching red flower display of the group, flowering time may be inconsistent from one year to the next. This intermittent display together with flowering in warmer months on bare limbs is contradictory to what most people expect from a summer native.   When they are in flower however, their beauty is breathtaking! Like Jacaranda, with its suburban purple haze effect, there is no missing this iconic tree when covered in red bell-shaped flowers.

Brachychiton can cope with a range of conditions from wetter coastal districts to the semi-arid interiors of Australia. All Brachychiton prefer to have a good wet season each year but due to their ability to store water in their trunks, can also endure substantial dry periods.

While the Illawarra Flame tree requires sizable garden space as a feature tree, the range of smaller hybrids, offer landscapers and designers more planting flexibility.

Brachychiton ‘Bella Donna’ (growing 5-6m) ‘Bella Pink’, ‘Jerilderie Red’ (both growing to 8m) and ‘Griffith Pink' (growing 5-8m) work superbly as a street tree or backyard feature tree due to their compact height and smaller footprint.  The addition of populneus in their genetics ensures a fuller form which more adequately compensates for a slightly less intense flowering regime. Known reliable performers, each hybrid variety produces the customary bell-shaped flowers on a dense foliage structure and without the seed pods! Pleach it for a feature specimen or keep it dressed to the floor for screening - it ticks all boxes for a small flowering native evergreen, and there are few other trees in this category!

The shorter-growing hybrid varieties are truly low maintenance with pruning hardly a requirement. They have a non-invasive root system and are easy to maintain lending itself well to public space and council plantings. As an added attraction, all Brachychiton is bird-attracting.

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Brachychiton discolor

  • The tallest at 15m tall x 10m wide
  • Broad-domed form
  • Deep pink bell-shaped flowers
  • Boat-shaped seed pods
  • May lose foliage when it flowers

Brachychiton rupestris

  • 15m tall x 5m wide
  • Broad-domed form
  • Distinctive swollen trunk
  • Pale insignificant cream flowers
  • Boat-shaped seed pods

Brachychiton acerifolius

  • Grows 12m tall x 6m wide
  • Broad-domed form
  • Striking crimson bell-shaped flowers in spring/summer
  • May lose foliage when it flowers
  • Boat-shaped seed pods

Brachychiton populneus

  • 8-10m tall x 10m wide
  • Dome-shaped
  • White bell-shaped flowers in spring/summer
  • Boat-shaped seed pods

Brachychiton acerifolius x populneus ‘Jerilderie Red’

  • 8m tall x 7m wide
  • Broad-domed form
  • Red bell-shaped flowers in spring/summer

Brachychiton acerifolius x populneus ‘Bella Pink’

  • 8m tall x 4m wide
  • Broad-domed form
  • Salmon pink, bell-shaped flowers in spring/summer

Brachychiton populneus x discolor ‘Griffith Pink’

  • 5-8m tall x 2-3m wide
  • Broad-domed form
  • Pink, bell-shaped flowers in spring/summer
  • Slightly different leaf shape to ‘Bella Pink’, ‘Bella Donna’ and ‘Jerilderie Red’

Brachychiton acerifolius x populneus ‘Bella Donna’

  • 5-6m tall x 3-4m wide
  • More pyramidal shaped than the other hybrids
  • Bright bell-shaped pink flowers in spring/summer
     
Native to northern NSW and Queensland, these trees will grow in most places south too. They have compact root systems and have been used as street trees for this reason. In early summer it drops its leaves while it produces a beautiful display of bell-shaped, deep pink flowers. When the flowers fade, foliage returns. 30cm/14L 40cm/27L
This is a small to medium sized tree with a characteristic bulbous trunk which gives rise to the common 'bottle tree' name. Leaves are about 100 mm long and may have entire margins or be deeply lobed. The bell-shaped flowers are followed by seed capsules which contain many large seeds. 40cm/27L 50cm/52L 200L
A drought tolerant, slow growing tree native to the warmer parts of the east coast of Australia, this tree is known for its masses of crimson flowers in spring-summer when the tree is totally devoid of foilage.
This tree is short and stout with intresting greenish bark. It produces white bell shaped flowers from Spring to early Summer amongst large leaves of varying shapes. It can become semi decidious in early summer. 40cm/27L
This is an attractive densely canopied tree that grows to approximately 8m tall and 7m wide. It has a bloated trunk and large lobed leaves. During the summer months, the tree is densely packed with stunning powdery-red flowers that are shaped like small bells. 40cm/27L 50cm/52L 200L
This is a small to medium sized shade tree offering glossy green foliage and pretty clusters of salmon pink, bell-shaped flowers in Summer. As a grafted tree, it is more compact in size which makes it highly suitable for domestic landscapes. Flowers are bird attracting. 40cm/27L 50cm/52L 200L
Evergreen pyramid-shaped tree with densely packed panicles of pink flowers in late spring and early summer. The trunk is very large and has green-lobed foliage that creates a dense canopy. Offers slightly different foliage to other pink varieties such as 'Bella Donna' and 'Bella Pink'. 40cm/27L 50cm/52L
Evergreen pyramid shaped tree with densely packed panicles of bright pink flowers in late spring and early summer. Leaves are bright red when young. The trunk is very large and has green lobed foliage that creates a dense canopy.

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