Brachychiton discolor. LACEBARK.  New South Wales, Queensland
STERCULIACEAE (Sterculia family)

Resembling the flame tree in general appearance, but having a

distinctive bark when mature, lacebark is immediately distinguishable by the flowers, flower-buds, and pods. The bell-shaped, nectar-bearing flowers have about five pointed lobes and are about 1-1/2 inches across, red inside and on the outside on the fringe, but mostly enclosed in a rusty down sheath that apparently consists of the fused sepals. The buds are enclosed in the same down and so is the pod, which is canoe shaped and 4 or 5 inches long. Some of the leaves are five-pointed with pale felt underneath and could easily be mistaken for leaves of Platanus racemosa (California plane tree), but others have three lobes or only one, and others again are very fancy with lobes upon the lobes. There are two on and near the cycle path connecting Santa Fe Avenue to Stanford Avenue, and three young ones along the Campus Drive East side of the Student Services Center at 563 Salvatierra Walk (only an inch in diameter in 2003).

A tree of very formal and distinguished appearance, drought resistant and less frost-sensitive than the flame tree, lacebark deserves a place in the Inner Quad.

Other campus Brachychitons: Brachychiton acerifolius | Brachychiton discolor | Brachychiton populneus | Brachychiton rupestris

Illustrations (links open new windows): Silhouettes from Trees of Stanford & its Environs

Additions/Revisions: Two of these trees were removed, dead, in 2005; the remainder died in 2006. One supposition is that the highly compacted soil resulting from building construction had not been properly prepared before tree planting.

Name derivation, genus | species: from Greek, brachys, short and chiton, a tunic, a reference to the coating on the seed | Latin name discolor means two different colors

Related material:

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