Illawara Flame Tree, Brachychiton acerifolius

The Illawara Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius) also generally called a Kurrajong is a large tree indigenous to the eastern coast of Australia in the subtropical areas. Best known for its crimson tubular flowers that when leafless, covers the entire tree. In its natural habitat, the tree can reach heights of 131 feet. Famed for its beauty and because it is tolerant of moderate climates the tree has been cultivated world wide. However, outside of its native soil, the tree generally only grows one half its size to 66 feet.

Like other members of the Kurrajong family, it is a deciduous plant with variable leaves containing up to 7 lobes. The most vivid flowering occurs in late spring. Each bell shaped flower features 5 partially conjoined petals. The tree yields brown, bristly, crescent shaped fruits or follicles which contain yellow seeds and reach approximately 4 inches in length. These fruits were a part of the Aboriginal diet for generations.