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Botanical name: Brachychiton acerifolius

Common name: Australian flame tree

Brachychiton acerifolius, commonly known as the Australian flame tree, is a tree with maple-like foliage of the family Malvaceae, native to subtropical regions on the east coast of Australia.

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It is famous for the bright red bell-shaped flowers that often cover the whole tree when it is leafless. The Australian flame tree is generally deciduous before flowers are seen in early summer. The deciduous nature of the plant is variable and, in Madeira, depending on temperature and rainfall, some trees retain foliage on all or part of the tree. Also, depending on the weather some years these trees may flower only partially or even not flower at all.

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The flowers fall cleanly, creating a nice display on the ground and are followed by large brown seed pods which may hang on the tree for months till, eventually, split along the seam to display yellow seeds. The seeds are nutritious and were eaten by Aborigines after toasting.

Elda Sousa (Official Tourist Guide)

Bibliography: Different sites on the internet

 

Photo Courtesy of Marla Castro