BRACHYCHITON acerifolius


Illawarra Flame Tree

Family: Malvaceae

Characteristics: Tree to 30m spread 6m

Seed per packet: 5

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A small to medium sized tree which may reach 30 metres in height although it is usually much smaller in cultivation or in cooler areas.

Leaves are about 250 mm long and may have entire margins or be deeply lobed. The bell shaped flowers occur in clusters at the ends of the branches.

The flowers are followed by large, leathery seed capsules which contain corn like seeds.

Typically deciduous before flowers appear in early summer, however the deciduous nature of the plant is variable and in some seasons foliage can be retained on all or part of the tree.

Indigenous to the east coast of Australia.

Prefers a medium to heavy deep soil in a protected position, drought resistant but frost tender.

Seed is usually best sown in spring or autumn in temperate climates, avoid the coldest and hottest months of the year. The optimum germination temperature for germination of this genus is around 18-22°C

Brachychiton seeds germinate readily, however they do have a hard outer coating, to assist with the update of moisture required for germination the following method is suggested. This is not critical but will generally reduce germination time.

  1. Place the seed in a container and pour in just boiled water and soak for 30 seconds
  2. Transfer to a container with luke warm water and soak overnight.
  3. The swollen seed can then be sown, re-treat seeds that have not swollen.
  4. Sow the depth of seed deep.
  5. Place in a warm shaded or semi shaded position to avoid dying out.
  6. The growing medium should be well draining but should remain damp between watering. Keep moist but not too wet as the seed may rot. Do not let the growing mix completely dry out.
  7. Germination should occur in 10-21 days @ 18-22C

General note: Seeds of many natives are dormant and require specific conditions or pre-treatment for germination.
Do not be too hasty to discard seed that does not germinate, seeds will often lay dormant until the conditions are similar to their natural requirements for germination to occur. Containers put to one side will often surprise long after they were discarded.

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