Brachychiton populneus

The bottle tree is a fast-growing evergreen with poplar-like, dark green, dense, pointed foliage. It has a broad trunk that tapers into a pyramidal shape when young. As it matures, the trunk widens and has the ability to store water. The tree grows from thirty-five to sixty feet and spreads thirty feet wide. In late spring, it produces creamy white, bell-shaped blooms streaked with purple. After flowering, dark brown, woody seedpods appear that contain yellow seeds. Hairs on the seedpod may cause an allergic itching reaction in some people. Aborigines roasted seeds from the pods, used the soft, spongy wood to make shields and used the bark as a fiber. The species prefers full sun, withstands reflected heat, and grows best in well-draining soils that are not rocky. This tree is drought-resistant, but needs occasional, deep irrigation during the warmer weather. It is hardy to twenty to twenty-five degrees Fahrenheit and may suffer frost damage in colder, low-lying locations. The bottle tree is highly susceptible to Texas root rot fungus. It requires an annual application of fertilizer in the spring. Use it as a street tree in medians, along roadways, in parking lots or wide-open spaces like parks, or residential settings. This is a great tree choice to use around large buildings or as a screen. It is native to dry forests, wet, coastal areas, and interior, semi-arid areas of Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland in Australia.

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