Lacebark Kurrajong / Bottle Tree

Brachychiton populneus

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Brachychiton, coming from the Greek word, brachys = short, and chiton = tunic, probably referring to the short and dense hairiness that covers the seeds. Populneus, by the similarity of its leaves with those of a poplar, genus Populus. Original from Australia.

An evergreen tree 10-12 m tall, with dense and pyramidal crown. Trunk straight generally, with a smooth and greenish, grooved bark. Hanging outer branches. Leaves alternate, 6-8 cm long, with long petiole, dark green in colour and variable in shape, even in the same tree. The normal adult form is ovate, with a very pronounced apex and the veins marked. Sometimes they have 3-5 lobes.

Numerous flowers, bell-shaped, of 1 cm of diameter, in a white-yellowish colour and reddish spots on the interior. It blooms in April-May. Its fruit grows in a woody, dehiscent capsule (follicle), about 7 cm long and is a blackish colour when ripe. The seeds are yellow and are covered with hairs, which are irritating to the touch.

It is multiplied by seeds. The fruits are collected from the tree, once they are ripe, which is when they are black and open, being able to detach the seeds with ease. The germination is high and does not need previous treatments. When cleaning the seeds, be careful with the irritating hairs that surround them. It is a tree of fast growth and very rustic as far as the ground is concerned. It can put up with the cold weather quite well. It is grown isolated, in groups or in alignments.

In Cadiz, specimens of this species stand out in the Parque de los Cinco Continentes, Cuesta de las Calesas, Genovés Park and Plaza de Santa Ana.

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