The Brachychiton Acerifolius, also called illawarra fire tree, is a tree species native to subtropical regions of the east coast of Australia. It is famous for its bright red bell-shaped flowers, which often cover the entire tree when it is still without leaves.
This tree is usually 8 to 15 m tall, although its species reaches a maximum height of 40 m, it only occurs in its original habitat. It grows quickly, and is very long- lived. It is tolerant to temperate climates where it is cultivated for its beauty.
It has variable leaves, with up to 7 deep lobes; glabrous It is deciduous, losing leaves after the dry season. The spectacular flowering occurs in late spring and the new foliage is ready for summer rains. In areas where winter is not particularly dry, this natural rhythm can become somewhat erratic, being able to flower only partially.
The flowers are scarlet bells with 5 partially fused petals. Pod-shaped fruits (technically known as follicles) are broad, dark brown, pot-shaped, and 10 cm long by 1 cm in diameter. It contains masses of bristles that stick to the skin. Yellow, nutritious seeds eaten by Australian aborigines after roasting.