Queensland Bottle Tree
The Queensland Bottle Tree is, I think, a greatly underappreciated icon. We can all lust after the baobabs of Madagasca, Africa and the Kimberley, yet here we have, in our own backyard, a tree that is not only sculpturally beautiful and historically significant but is under threat in its native habitat. Bottle trees make an architectural statement and are often found in public parks and street plantings. Why don’t they feature more in our sense of state identity and tourism promotion?
Bottle Trees also fascinate me because they fall within my favourite genus of native trees, the Brachychitons, which include the Illawarra Flame Tree and Kurrajong. Among their similarities they are all deciduous, losing their leaves before putting on a colourful show of flowers that also fall, creating a carpet of red, pink, white or cream.
Bottle trees are capable of growing to a great size and age, taking on the characteristic "bottle" shape. They come in many shapes and sizes, depending on their growing conditions. Imperfections in their trunks can make it appear as if they have faces, like spirit guardians of the landscape. As I travel the outback I am on a quest to find the most interesting characters.