Monday, May 18, 2015

Kurrajong aka Bottle Tree in Irvine, Southern California

Last month, I posted about the mysterious tree that is in front of my patio, providing me a nice shade, refreshing breeze and a bird watching joy. It's about 30 foot tall with a bell-shaped white flowers and 2-3 inches hard black woodsy seedpods.
I typed all the description to search around on google but had been no luck.
I found something similar called "Aubutus", which flower looks alike, yet no berries seem to be existent throughout the tree. 


So, I was driving through the neighborhood yesterday and all of a sudden, my eyes started catching something familiar. These trees along the street had rarely caught my attention before but I started finding these black seedpods everywhere. Just like the one at my place but the flowers look bright red with skinny pointy red stems. What about the leaves? No, leaves are also completely different: a larger maple-shape. They must be still the same family since these seedpods are too unique to look exactly the same for the different species. These facts got me confused.

I headed home, parked the car, grabbed my camera to take a little walk around the neighborhood. 



Before reaching the red flower tree, what jumped into my sight is this pink flower tree. Look how pretty it is! Such a nice pink color yet not so showy at all from the distance that I had never noticed that they are blooming in the whole neighborhood; the dropped pink flowers make a beautiful carpet on the ground. Each tree also has seedpods again, only a little lighter yellowish in color and longer in size. 


Finally, the one I saw from the car is this red one with the familiar looking black seedpods, but the leaves are similar to the pink one, maple-like.


Taking enough pictures and collecting samples, my curiosity has piqued.
I'm so ready to restart my search online so I went home.



The keywords "red flower tree, maple leaf, Southern California" brought me an answer quite easily.
All the trees shown above turned out to be the same family despite a little differences here and there. Here comes the detail.

Brachychiton as known as Kurrajong or Bottletree.
- Native to Australia (tropical, subtropical northern & eastern regions)
- 31 species (30 is Australian native)
- Part or all leafless in bloom (not much in this neighborhood due to the climate?)
- Bloom erratically in cultivation
- Introduced to hot dry regions: the Mediterranean, South Africa and the western US
- The opening of the boat shaped seedpods expose rows of seeds. (look like a beehive when seeds are gone.) 


~培養は暑くて乾燥した地域: 地中海、南アフリカ、アメリカ西部


No more mystery-
Feels much better!
However, I also encountered a few unknown trees around Kurrajong trees, which will be my next assignments.


Having the Kurrajong tree waving outside the window seems to have changed my vision and mind set: I feel calmer, got more curious about trees as you can see here.

To be continued..



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