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Products > Brachychiton discolor
Brachychiton discolor - Pink Flame Tree
Image of Brachychiton discolor
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Malvaceae (w/Bombacaceae & Sterculeacea)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Rose Pink
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Height: 25-40 feet
Width: 20-30 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Brachychiton discolor (Pink Flame Tree) - A medium sized slow growing semi-evergreen tree that typically reaches to 25-40 feet tall by nearly as wide in cultivation but taller (to 65 feet) in the wild. It has a stout bottle-shaped trunk that has gray intricately furrowed bark. The large leaves, 4 to 8 inches in length and width, that clothe the branch tips are deeply palmately lobed, looking much like those of a maple or sycamore and are a glabrous dark-blue-green above and pale green with soft felty hairs below. It holds these leaves nearly year round but can be partly deciduous when in flower in late spring and summer when the bell-shaped flowers emerge, often with areas of the tree retaining foliage and not flowering while other areas of the crown have flowers and no leaves. The 5-merous flowers emerge from buds covered in dense rusty velvet hairs and open to display inch and a half wide flowers with thick reflexed petaloid sepals that are a dark reddish pink color, but covered on the undersides and tube with the velvety hairs so prominent on the buds. The flowers are followed 5 inch long canoe-shaped pods held in decorative clusters and covered with the remnant hairs from the flowers. The pods split open along a seam to reveal the rows of seed that first resemble corn kernels but darken to brown with age. Plant this tree in full sun in most any soil. Irrigate when young but is quite drought-tolerant once established and generally has no pest or disease issues. It is hardy to short duration temperatures down to 20F and useful in USDA Zones 9 and above and has good tolerance of near coastal conditions with some protection from direct exposure. Though it has a compact root system and makes a good street tree, it is not suitable to narrow parkways or other constrained spaces when it will lift pavement and some find the large seed pods to be a nuisance. The hairs on the flowers and fruit are also somewhat irritating and should be handled with gloves. Brachychiton discolor is native to coastal scrub and drier rainforest areas of eastern Australia from north of Brisbane in Queensland to Patterson, north of Sydney in New South Wales. Brachychiton discolor was first described in 1858 by Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich von Mueller. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'brachy' meaning "short" and 'chiton' meaning a "tunic" in reference to the seed coating and the specific epithet is the Latin word meaning "two different colors", likely in reference to the two distinct colors in the leaves. Other common names include Scrub Bottle Tree, in reference to the notable mid-trunk bulge that is likened to the shape of an old-fashion soda bottle, Hat Tree, in reference to the flower shape, Australian Sycamore, for it sycamore like leaves, Queensland Lacebark for the lattice-like pattern of the furrowed bark. Brachychiton are often called Kurrajong in Australia and there this tree is sometime called Lacebark Kurrajong or White Kurrajong. We have many great examples of this tree in Santa Barbara.  The information about Brachychiton discolor displayed on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources we consider reliable. We will also relate those observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments we receive from others and welcome hearing from anyone who has additional information, particularly when they share cultural information that would aid others in growing it.