Bush Kurrajong - Brachychiton Discolor

The Bush Kurrajong (Brachychiton Discolor) is also called the Lacebark tree by some. It is a member of the Brachychiton genus of tree species that are all native to Australia. I have been studying the 5-6 different members of this tree family that are grown as urban trees in the south of Spain. In fact there are four different species of Brachychitons planted on my street within about 50 meters of my front entrance. These tree pictures come from one of these trees.

For quite some time I was quite confused with these trees until I realized that several of the trees on my block were hybrids. It turns out that there are several naturally occurring hybrids that are usually found in along the overlapping zones between the natural ranges of different brachychiton species. The B.discolor crosses with B.acerifolius to produce a hybrid that has been given the name "Clarabelle" which is one of the hybrids on my street. Another hybrid that I believe is present is a cross between b.discolor and B.populneus which is called "Griffith Pink".

The tree in these pictures though is what I believe to be the true B. discolor. Don´t quote me on this however since I am a long ways from Australia and with so many hybrids around this to may in fact be some sort of cross. Notice the bees in the two pictures above, they go from tree to tree along my street which means that they are probably an active agent in the cross pollination process.

One of the distinctive features of this brachychiton species is the fuzzy texture on the flower buds, flowers and seed pods. The color of this fuzzy almost felt like exterior is a sort of tan or skin color.
The leaves of this species, like all of the brachychitons, vary greatly from leaf to leaf. The two below were on the same branch and illustrate that this tree can have simple shaped leaves or multiple lobed leaves with 3-7 lobes. The leaves also tend to be somewhat asymmetrical with the lobe on one side having a slightly different shape than the opposite lobe.

Below are the fuzzy seed pods of the Bush Kurrajong in the typical five star pattern. They also grow with 2, 3 or 4 seed pods in the cluster as well. The seeds of this tree are reputed to be edible but I have never tried them. I did once try to extract them from the seed pod which was quite an endeavor. Each of these seed pods is about 3-4 inches long.

Similar trees
Brachychiton Acerifolius - Flame tree
Brachychiton populneus - Lacebark Kurrajong
Brachychiton bidwillii - Littel Kurrajong


  1. Dan, I think the leaf on the right is B. acerifolius, the Illawarra flame tree. As far as I can see it is the only Brachychiton with lobed leaves. The left leaf is B. discolor, as you suggest. These tree probably like the climate of Spain because it is similar to those parts of Australia where the tree grows naturally.

  2. Thank God someone knew the answer to your question. Just wanted to say thanks for posting these gorgeous pics! What a lovley tree...nice for city usage! Lucky you to have them around!

  3. Actually I have ruled out B. acerifolius for either of these trees. Where I photographed these two trees there is a B. acerifolius about 10 meters away which allows me to do a pretty good comparison. I think that the leaf on the right is a hybrid of B. discolor and B. acerifolius. I read somewhere that the Brachychiton trees hybrid easily with each other.

  4. Hi Dan,
    Awesome pictures of Brachychiton discolor! I am writing from Annie's Annuals and Perennials, a plant nursery in Richmond, California. We are growing Brachychiton discolor and were wondering if you would allow us to use a couple of your photos on our descriptive sign/website. We would give photo credit and link back to your blog.


    Annie's Annuals

  5. Megan, Yes you can use the images. Thanks for asking!

  6. Dan, interesting...I live in Eastern Sicily and have recently discovered this tree on the property of a friend of my husband. He has 2 growing near each other but was unable to tell me the name! I found out by posting pics I took in July on the Shoot gardening c.uk. site and got an identification just this evening! It's a beautiful tree and many people who see it stand and admire it. Out of this friend's property I have seen just 2 or 3 of them around.

    1. I had the good fortune to visit Sicily last year and was very impressed by the number of Brachychitons growing and thriving in Palermo.
      I noted B. discolor (many at Villa Giulia), B. populneus (along much of Via Roma), B. acerifolius and B. australis. Palermo may well be the Brachychiton capital of the world.

  7. I live in Byford in Western Australia and purchased what I was told was a flame tree from a school fete approx 10 years ago. I believe it to be a B. Discolour (same type of leaf). The tree has grown well and is approx 10 metres high. I have been informed that the tree is deciduous and should also have pink flowers. My tree has done neither of these. Can anyone help me identify the tree or give me some idea as to why it does not drop its leaves or flower.

  8. Today I found a tree, in Balboa Park in San Diego, that has small cream colored flower clusters, the same sort of pods as the other Brachychitons, and which has enormous leaves with five lobs and the edges of the leave dip in a curve inward between two veins.

    Now that I know that these trees easily hybridize when planted near one another, I think the mystery is solve. What say you all?

  9. My guess would be a hybrid between B. populneus and B. discolor. The B. populneus has small cream colored flowers but small leaves. The B. discolor has large leaves and also larger pink flowers.

  10. Dan- I just purchased an 8" baby pink flame tree online. The spot I would like to plant it is in shade until about 11:30 am and then is in full sun. We live near Sacramento, Ca. and I was wondering if the tree would need more shade? Pat