Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bottle Tree, Brachychiton rupestre

The Bottle tree, Brachychiton rupestre is a remarkable tree from the sub coastal regions of Queensland. It has a conspicuous large swollen trunk.Though much of its native habitat has been cleared for cattle grazing, many fine specimens have been saved.The tree once formed an important part in the diet of Aboriginal people.The roots contain a valuable source of water in a very dry part of the country.The mucilaginous exudate from wounds in the trunk was eaten as well .The bark fibre was also used to make twine for weaving baskets. The Bottle tree is mentioned by early explorers of the region. In 1846 Major Mitchell made a jelly from wood shavings of the bark and Ludwig Leichhardt wrote that the young wood 'containing a great deal of starch between its woody fibres was frequently chewed by our party'.When cattle were introduced to the area, the soft tree trunks became a good stock food during times of drought.
  Standing under a Bottle tree in Dalby,Queensland

Brachychiton rupestre 
Bottle Tree in Wollongong Botanic Gardens

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