Brachychiton populneus

Accession Count: 11
Common Name: bottle tree, kurrajong
Family Name: Malvaceae
Botanical Name: Brachychiton populneus
Sub Species:
Characteristics: The bottle tree has a tapered trunk, simple, 2-3 inch, glossy-green ovate to lobed leaves, white flowers with pink spots, and fruit that is a brown, “woody, boat-shaped pod,” (3)  the hairs of which can be a skin and eye irritant.
Compound: Bra pop
Geographic Origin: Australia
Ecozone Origin: Australasia
Biome Origin:
Natural History: The bottle tree is native to and is distributed across eastern Australia (3,4).
Cultivation Notes: Propagation of B. can be done from seed or cutting (4). Germination success increases when seeds are immersed in hot water and allowed to soak for 12 hours in the cooled water (4). Grafting is also sometimes done to propagate desirable characteristics (4), such as a leaf shape, which tends to vary in this species. When transplanting seedlings from containers, protect the taproot (4). Plant in full - part sun (1,3). The bottle tree is tolerant of drought and poor soil conditions, but responds well to soil with good drainage and grows better with deep watering every 1-2 weeks in the hottest summer months (3,4). In some climates, the bottle tree is susceptible to many pests and diseases (4) however, in the low desert of Southern Arizona it is resistant to most disease except for Texas root rot, to which it is highly susceptible (5).
Ethnobotany: Australian aborigines used the bottle tree as a source of fiber from which to make twine for bandages(2), nets, and dilly bags(1) and it is still cultivated for the use of its fiber(4). The gum exudate can be eaten, the taproot can be eaten and is described as “carrot-like”(4) or “yam-like”(1), and the seeds can be ground up and used as a coffee substitute(4). The raw or roasted seeds have been eaten by aboriginal people and are high in protein, zinc, and magnesium(1). Currently, the bottle tree is commercially cultivated and is commonly used as a street tree in Australia and other countries(4).

Height: 20 - 50 feet
Width: 20 - 50 feet
Growth Rate: Slow Growing
Grow Season: Spring
Flower Season: ForeSummer
Color: White
Function: Shade
Spread: Non-spreading
Allergen: Non-allergenic
Invasive: Benign
Toxicity: Benign
Hardy: Hardy
Water Use: Moderate Water Use


1. Brachychiton <g data-gr-id="83">populneum</g> [Schott and Endl.] R.Br. <g data-gr-id="84">in:</g> Plants for a Future

2. Cribb, A.B. and J.W. (1981). Wild Medicine in Australia. Sydney: William Collins Pty Ltd. Print.

3. Master Gardeners University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension

4. Brachychiton populneus <g data-gr-id="85">in:</g> Australian National Botanic Gardens

5. Arizona State University Plant Pages

6. Jones, W. and C. Sacamano. 2000. Jones, Warren D, and Charles M Sacamano. Landscape Plants for Dry  Regions: More Than 600 Species from around the World. Fisher Books, 2000.


Brachychiton populneus