The Kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus) is a small to medium sized tree found naturally in Australia in a diversity of habitats from wetter coastal districts to semi-arid interiors of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
The Kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus) is a small to medium sized tree found naturally in Australia in a diversity of habitats from wetter coastal districts to semi-arid interiors of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. The extended trunk is a water storage devise for survival in a warm dry climate. The bell-shaped flowers are variable in colour (pale to pink) while the leaves vary considerably in shape. The leaves are either simple and pointed, or may be 3 - 9 lobed. Saplings grow from a drought and fire resistant tap-rooted tuber.
Kurrajong has multiple uses. Seeds are eaten by Aboriginal people after roasting. The soft spongy wood was used for making shields, and the bark as a fibre. The leaves are also used as emergency fodder for drought effected animal stock.
It has been introduced as an ornamental tree to south-western Australia, South Africa, Louisiana, California and Arizona. In Western Australia it was observed to be invasive in disturbed areas.
B. populneus is related to other Brachychiton species, including Queensland bottle tree (B. rupestris) and the Illawarra Flame Tree (B. acerifolius), and the species are hybridised by horticulturists to produce ornamental hybrids.
The specific name populneus pertains to a perceived similarity to genus Populus, the Poplars. Sometimes B. populneus is also known by the misnomers of 'lacebark kurrajong' and 'bottle tree' (USA), but these are the common names for other species in Australia.