Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Brachychiton paradoxus Schott & Endl.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: M. Fagg.
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
1st leaf stage, cotyledons absent, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Schott, H.W. & Endlicher, S.L. (1832) Meletemata Botanica : 34. Type: Northern Territory, Gulf of Carpentaria, 1802, F. L. Bauer?. Neo: North Coast of New Holland, R. Brown; BM. Fide Guymer (1988).

Common name

Kurrajong, Red Flowering; Red Flowering Kurrajong


Occasionally grows into a small tree but usually flowers and fruits as a shrub.


Two or four main lateral veins and the midrib radiate from the base of the leaf blade. Both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade clothed in long-armed stellate hairs. Leaf blades about 6.5-9 x 6-13 cm. Petioles terete, about 1.5-5.5 cm long. Stipules +/- linear, about 4-8 mm long. Reticulate veins depressed on the upper surface of the leaf blade and raised on the lower surface with the leaf blade arched between. Under a lens the upper surface resembles numerous hillocks while the under surface resembles an aerial view of a mining field with numerous pits.


Perianth orange-red outside but green towards the base. Perianth about 30-42 x 20-24 mm, stellate hairy on the outer and inner surfaces. Floral nectaries aggregated to form an irregularly lobed ring. Anthers (at least 15) yellow-orange, about 1.5 x 1 mm. Staminal column about 20 mm long. Free staminal filaments about 1.5-2 mm long. Ovary clothed in stellate hairs. Styles about 4-5 mm long, stigmas about 3 mm long.


Fruits stellate hairy outside, about 6.5-10.5 x 3-5 cm. Seeds about 18-44 per follicle, about 9.5-11 x 7-8 mm.


Cotyledons enclosed in the seed coat. First leaves about 25-30 x 25 mm, petioles about 15 mm long. Stem, petiole and upper and lower leaf blade surfaces clothed in brown stellate hairs. Stipules about 3-4 mm long, filiform and hairy. Taproot swollen, carrot-like (Daucus carota). At the tenth leaf stage: all plant parts clothed in soft stellate hairs. Leaf blade wider than long, palmate, upper surface bullate, apex obtuse, base cordate with the lobes overlapping one another. Petioles about as long as the leaf blade. Taproot swollen, sausage-shaped. Seed germination time 32 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in NT, CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 300 m. Usually grows in open eucalypt forest but also found in beach forest, vine thickets and monsoon forest.

Sterculia paradoxa (Schott & Endl.) Druce, The Botanical Exchange Club and Society of the British Isles Report for 1916, Suppl. 2 : 649(1917). Sterculia paradoxa (Schott & Endl.) Druce var. paradoxa, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 967(1928). Sterculia paradoxa var. typica Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 967(1928). Brachychiton ramiflorus R.Br., Plantae Javanicae Rariores : 234(1844), Type: Northern Territory, Sir Edward Pellew Islands, 17-18 Dec. 1802, R. Brown; holo: BM. Sterculia ramiflora (R.Br.) Benth., Flora Australiensis 1: 227(1863).
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