The flame tree that blinded a weary driver.

By James Wall.

The other day I was driving down Wattletree Road in East Malvern when I glanced across to Central park….

There was a tree so vivid, that it almost blinded me. It was at its absolute peak of colour. So much so, I had to stop and take these photos.

 Illawarra Flame TreeThe tree of course is a Brachychiton acerifolius, commonly known as the Illawarra Flame Tree. It is native to those subtropical regions between the Great Dividing Range and the sea, along the east coast of Australia. It occurs from Cape York in northern Queensland down to the Shoalhaven region around Wollongong, south of Sydney.

Illawarra Flame TreeThese trees are semi deciduous and like this specimen, tend to drop them when they flower.

Illawarra Flame Tree

This one looks about 12 metres tall which is typical of a mature tree, although I hear of ones up north that are much bigger.

As I continued home, the Cold Chisel song, “Flame Trees” suddenly popped into my head, and the joyous singing began. Fortunately for the rest of the world, I had my windows up.


UPDATE:  Very soon we will have some Brachychiton populneus x acerifolius. These are more compact (8 metres) and are pinker in flower. They would be a perfect school tree as it is much less likely to drop branches than a gum tree. Here is a picture of one we planted at Gardenworld about 12 months ago. We bought it at about 1.5 metres high. Let us no if you would like one, as these will sell out.

Brachychiton populneus x acerifolias

Brachychiton populneus x acerifolias

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