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Friday, December 16, 2011

Brachychiton sp. Ormeau

For about 15 years there have been local environmentalists and botanists in the Ormeau and Gold Coast region of SE Queensland trying to tell people about the unique little bottle tree growing down there which was not (as many had thought) a hybrid but in fact a seperate species. I write little because the only ones I have seen were small despite having semi mature characteristics....apparently the tree will reach 30m in its preferred habitat of remanat rainforest  Ormeau Bottle Tree - very little of which is left in the Ormeau region. 

Ormeau location shown by the letter 'A'
A few days ago we happened to be travelling along Upper Ormeau Road and took time to photograph one of the Ormeau Bottle Trees which is growing right next to the road reserve.

It is a lovely little tree with very interesting features, easily confused with and mistaken for a Mango when driving along, it has mottled bark almost a pruniose surface to the stems.

The leaves are very variable in shape size and colour as the tree gets older, but on close examination you would quickly realise that this tree was a Brachychiton sp.

The location of the tree we looked at near the road edge was less than ideal given it is under transmission lines and has been cut repeatedly over the decades since the lines went in. We will make inquiries of the utility company to see if any bundling of cables is practical. It should be said though that despite the cutting the tree appears to be very healthy and vigorous.

There is a research program running  Research into rare Bottle tree to help direct conservation efforts, this is being funded by a large land developer in the region, we certainly hope that the research aids in protecting and increasing the population of this lovely local tree.