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Friday, January 10, 2014

Brachychiton populneus - Bottle Tree

The bottle trees get their common name from the swollen water filled trunks that develop in very dry climates. Growing to 30 plus feet tall this attractive evergreen can be wider than tall or narrowly upright. 

Foliage is evergreen, simple, alternately arranged, and should I say popular like? Okay, how about ovate to broadly lanceolate, with a long drawn out tip, entire margins, dark glossy green above, lighter below with a thin petiole. 

Flowers - I have not seen them. White - spring or early summer.

Fruit are attractive. Dark brown follicles opening up to release orange seeds which are covered with lots of dry hairs.

Stems are green with distinct white longitudinal lenticles resembling a snake-bark maple, sort of anyway. Eventually turning light brown or tan.  

The trunk are a gray to tan color and are swollen. Even the younger stems show some swelling near the branch attachment.

Not sure what is up with this stem. Looks like someone was eating it but its a branch attachment point and seems to be pretty common on our trees.

An example of a older specimen showing the swollen trunk.

Can't say I agree with this but the person doing the tree inventory at Cabrillo thought ours were ficus… ? Hard to mistake the trunk, even a young one. The foliage is variable making it difficult if thats all you look at.

Cabrillo college parking lot (M) near the children's center building 1700.

216 Central Ave is a young one.

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