Brachychiton acerifolius, Australian Flame Tree, Illawarra tree, fresh seeds 2022

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Brachychiton acerifolius is more commonly known as the Australian Flame Tree and the Illawarra Flame Tree.

Illawarra flame tree reaches between 10 to 40 metres height and it can grow 5 to 15 metres wide. It is a semideciduous (depending on the growing climate), after the dry winter it drops the leaves just before blooming. Illawarra Flame Tree leaves are maple-shaped, leathery, shiny green variable from oval shaped to 3 to 5 lobed palmate. The size of a leaf is about 10 to 30 cm long. The green leaves will turn yellow before falling off and giving way to bright sprays of red coloured flowers. Brachychiton acerifolius flowering naturally in spring to early summer. Glossy, scarlet-red, bell-shaped, waxy flowers up to 1.5 cm form clusters at the end of the tree branches. Each flower has about five petals. The fruits are dark brown, pod-like, and are boat-shaped.

Beware parts of the Illawarra Flame Tree seed pods have thin bristles that can cause irritation to the skin.

Soil: well-draining, loam or clay.

Location: full sun or partial shade, protected from wind, ample space.

Zone: USDA 9-11, in temperate climates it can tolerate light frost.

Care. It is important to water the plant well for up to 12 weeks after being installed to your garden.

Adding a slow-release fertiliser during the springtime could very well encourage the tree to flower.

It will take about 5 to 8 years for the spring flowers to show up on the flame tree. They are mainly suited to large gardens.


Brachychiton acerifolius seeds germinate readily, however they do have a hard outer coating, thus require pre-treatment. This is not critical but will generally reduce germination time.

Place the seed in a cup and pour in just boiled water and soak for 30 seconds

Then add some cold water and soak overnight.

The swollen seeds are ready to sow, re-treat seeds that have not swollen.

Prepare container or pots with coco peat or potting soil + sand or perlite

Sow the depth of seed deep.

Place in a warm shaded or semi shaded position to avoid dying out.

The growing medium should be well draining but should remain damp between watering. Keep moist but not too wet as the seed may rot. Do not let the growing mix completely dry out.

Germination should occur in 10-21 days at 20-25°C.