QLD Bottle Tree

Queensland Bottle Tree

Common name QLD Bottle Tree
Botanical Name Brachychiton rupestris
Family Malvaceae
Natural range Queensland
Mature height to 15m
Form Distinctive fat trunk
Likes Dry, stony soils
Dislikes Kurrajong Leaf-tier moth
Where to plant Interesting specimen tree
Known for Crazy fat, stubby trunk similar to a Boab

What’s So Unique About the Queensland Bottle Tree?

The Queensland Bottle Tree, true to its name, comes with a curious twist – a stout, swollen trunk that sets it apart from other trees. If you’re looking for a touch of whimsy for your garden, this tree could be a real conversation starter. Imagine a miniature version of the iconic Boab trees of north-west WA and Madagascar, and you’ve got the Queensland Bottle Tree.

Why Does a Bottle Tree Have a Bulbous Trunk?

These quirky trees start to develop their bottle-like form when they’re around five to eight years old. This shape is actually an ingenious adaptation for water storage, allowing them to survive and flourish in the drier inland regions of Queensland. Belonging to the native group of trees known as Brachychitons, their design is an evolutionary marvel.

How Tall Does a Bottle Tree Grow?

In the wild, these semi-deciduous trees can soar up to 18-20m in the warmer climates, although in cooler regions, they typically reach about 15m. An added feature of these unique trees is their drought-deciduous nature, meaning they drop leaves during periods of little to no water as a survival mechanism.

When Do Bottle Trees Flower?

A spectacle to behold, the Queensland Bottle Tree adorns itself with bell-shaped, yellowish flowers from October to December. These clusters of blossoms add a splash of colour at the end of the branches, further enhancing their aesthetic appeal.

Can Bottle Trees Be Grown in Pots?

In recent years, growing Bottle Trees in pots has become increasingly popular, especially in smaller gardens. In fact, many gardening enthusiasts have even cultivated indoor bonsai versions. Given the space to thrive, their distinctive bottle-shaped trunk makes a fantastic focal point, regardless of the size of your garden.

How Do You Care for a Bottle Tree?

Caring for these robust trees is surprisingly straightforward. Ideally, they prefer well-drained, slightly acidic soil. It’s important, however, to be mindful of any damage to the trunk, as it can make the tree susceptible to infections. So, keep your mower and whipper-snipper at a safe distance!

Fun Facts About the Queensland Bottle Tree:
  1. Bottle Trees store water in their swollen trunks, an adaptation for survival in dry conditions.
  2. They grow best in well-drained, slightly acidic soil.
  3. These trees are tolerant of transplantation and can survive up to 3 months out of the soil.
  4. They’re known to grow well in pots and can even be cultivated as indoor bonsai.
  5. Bottle Trees are susceptible to damage by a specific variety of moth, the Kurrajong Leaf-tier moth.
Links for Further Reading:
  1. Learn More About the Unique Features of the Queensland Bottle Tree
  2. Adopting Bottle Trees for Indoor Gardening
  3. Handling Pests and Diseases in Bottle Trees
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