(13 February 2014)
Brachychiton populneus, commonly known as the Kurrajong tree, is a long-lived, locally-occurring tree, reaching up to 20 metres with age. It is one of around 31 species of Brachychiton, most of which are deciduous, and all but one are endemic to Australia. The Kurrajong, however, is evergreen and is well-known for its use as a fodder tree for livestock, particularly useful during drought. Its seed can be roasted and eaten but I haven’t as yet tried it myself. Birds also readily enjoy the seed and are one of the primary means of the species spread and longevity. Lovely bell-shaped flowers appear during summer, further adding to this plant’s many attributes.
This tree is slow growing but is well worth preserving and planting for future generations. They commonly live for 100 years or more. It is hardy to Canberra’s often unforgiving soils and climate, and it is particularly drought tolerant. There are several established stands of them in local nature reserves that I would recommend visiting if you haven’t already, including Tuggeranong Hill.