Brachychiton rupestris
bottle tree

Malvaceae (mallow family)
Queensland

The bottle tree both looks like a bottle, contains potable sap, and is a characteristic sight of the dry inland savannah of Queensland, where the roots, shoots, and wood provided food for aborigines. In Queensland the trees have pronounced entasis, expanding to as much as 6 feet in diameter well above eye level.

A young specimen near the entrance to Memorial Church had large but very delicate leaves with several lobes barely wider than the leaf vein, cut right back to the point of attachment of the long slender petiole. By 2000, the leaves had lost this charm. The small white flowers which, like Eucalyptus, have no petals, will appear one of these summers. The development and flowering of this specimen, which was raised by arborist William Parker in 1972, will be watched with great interest. There is one other on Stanford Avenue opposite Peter Coutts Road.

Name derivation: Brachychiton – from Greek, brachys, short and chiton, a tunic, a reference to the coating on the seed; rupestris – refers to growing among rocks.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005.