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Products > Brachychiton rupestris
Brachychiton rupestris - Queensland Bottle Tree
Image of Brachychiton rupestris
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Malvaceae (w/Bombacaceae & Sterculeacea)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Flower Color: Cream & Red
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [Delabechea rupestris, B. delabechei, Sterculia]
Height: 25-40 feet
Width: 20-30 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Brachychiton rupestris (Queensland Bottle Tree) - A semi-deciduous tree with a large swollen trunk (sometimes referred to as a pachycaul) that grows to 60 feet in the wilds of Queensland Australia and northern New South Wales but typically is much shorter in cultivation - 30-year-old trees in Santa Barbara have robust trunks having dark gray tessellated bark on the swollen 5-12 feet tall trunks with an overall height of 20 to 25 feet. In youth this tree has a narrow straight trunk and bares small narrow-dissected palmate leaves but as the tree matures the stem swells as it stores water and becomes bottle shaped and the dark green leaves broaden and turn from compound to simple linear lance shaped leaves. Though this plant holds its leaves through a typical winter, the leaves drop before the cream and red flowers appear in late spring to early summer and can also drop off during times of drought stress.

Plant in full sun in most any soil type and give moderate to little irrigation - trees will grow better and trunk will develop faster when plant is well watered, but it can also tolerate very dry conditions. Cold hardy to short duration temperatures down to 18-20 F for. This tree with its fat gray trunk and dark foliage is an attractive feature plant in the garden and can also be kept as a container plant for many years.

The species is endemic to central Queensland south into northern New South Wales and was first discovered by Sir Thomas Mitchell in 1848 on an expedition through Queensland and described by John Lindley utilizing Mitchell's choice of the genus name Delabechea to honor the director of the Geological Survey of Great Britain, Henry De la Beche and for the specific epithet used the Latin word for "living amound rocks" in reference to the rocky habitat where Mitchell first observed it. The genus Delabechea was included with Brachychiton by Ferdinand von Mueller in 1862 (first as Brachychiton delabechei) and the genus name has bounced back and forth between Sterculia, Clompanus and Brachichiton since, with Brachychiton rupestris being the current correct name. This current genus name comes from the Greek words 'brachy' meaning "short" and 'chiton' meaning a "tunic" in reference to the seed coating. It is commonly called the Queensland Bottle Tree in reference it natural habitat bottle-shaped trunk but is also called Narrowleaf Bottle Tree or Kurrajong. The largest known specimen is in the town of Roma in Queensland and measures over 30 feet in circumference. Large specimens of this tree have been moved within Australia and throughout the world, often with little or no roots attached and with considerable time between digging and replanting. San Marcos Growers first started growing this wonderful tree in 1990 and are happy to see that it is finally getting more recognition as it fits in well with the many other xerophytic plants that we grow. 

This information about Brachychiton rupestris displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.