Brachychiton.JPG (37185 bytes)Brachychiton populneus: is known as the Kurrajong and is a member of the Sterculiaceae family.
The Kurrajong will develop into a tall tree with a rounded crown. Leaves are about ten centimetres long and may be lobed or ovate.
The flowers are bell-shaped, cream with reddish-brown inside. Flowering occurs in late spring and summer. In the late spring of 2006 there was a mass flowering of Kurrajongs in northern New South Wales. The plant illustrated is a naturally specimen on Yallaroo. This was its first flowering. As far as we know mass flowering does not occur every year.
Flowers are followed by boat-shaped follicles from three-seven centimetres long. Each follicle contains a number of seeds that are embedded in the endocarp (a woody layer surrounding the seed) and held in position by interlocking hairs. Beware of these hairs when removing seeds as they are very prickly and may irritate the skin.
Kurrajong is a very useful tree. Cattle and sheep are very partial to the foliage and trees are cut for fodder in drought times. It is said that the number of Kurrajongs, growing on a rural property influence its value; the more Kurrajongs the higher the value.
Aboriginal people used many parts of the Kurrajong. Roots were eaten. Seeds were eaten raw or roasted. They may be made into a coffee-like drink. Fish nets and twine were made from trunk fibres.
Young seedlings have been cultivated as indoor plants.
Kurrajongs are drought and frost tolerant. They are grown not only as fodder plants but as shelter and shade trees in rural properties and public parks.
Brachychiton populneus occurs in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
A number of mature specimens are growing naturally on Yallaroo and many seedlings are appearing since sheep were removed.
Propagate from seed.