Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network

Lacebark Tree

(Brachychiton discolor, family Sterculiaceae)

This medium to large (30m) deciduous tree has a botanical name derived from the Greek 'brachys' - short and 'chiton' - coat of mail, relating to the short, bristly outer covering of the seed. The specific name uses the Latin 'dis' - unlike and 'color' - colour, to describe the distinct contrast between the dark green upper leaf surface and the pale leaf underside. Lacebark occurs in rainforest from Paterson, NSW north to Mackay, QLD and as far west as the Bunya Mountains; there is an isolated occurrence on Cape York. It occurs occasionally in Subtropical Rainforest but is more common in Dry Rainforest, especially on well-drained slopes and in association with Hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii).

The Lacebark tree is most noticeable in Summer when it drops its leaves and bursts into flower. The large pink to red felty textured flowers in large panicles light up the tree so it can be seen in the forest canopy from some distance away. These flowers also form an attractive pink carpet on the ground beneath the tree as they are shed. The showy flowers are followed by boat shaped pods from 7 to 20cm long and containing up to 30 seeds. These ripen during the following Autumn - Winter. The slightly swollen trunks of mature trees may be up to 75cm in diameter and have prominent vertical fissures. Aborigines used the wood of the Lacebark to make handshields, the bark to make dillybags and roasted the seeds for a nutty snack.


B. Discolor propagates easily from seed which can be stored for several years at room temperature (some has been stores for 15yrs with 54% germination). Lacebark is very hardy, likes full sun and can cope well with dry conditions. Growth is rapid in good conditions.