Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Illawarra Flame Tree - Brachychiton acerifolius,

It's not yet Christmas and yet this tree in the Singapore Botanic Gardens reminds me of a tree bearing gifts of the season.Bright red flowers and buds decorate the bare branches.

Viewed from certain angles it looks as if it has been dusted with red powder. Here are the flowers gathered for appreciation:
I have only seen this tree or one like it while I was driving. I remember that I was coming onto the main road from a slip road and this beautiful cone-shaped tree laden with clusters of red flowers was standing right in the middle of a road divider. The location of this tree when I saw it at least a year and a half ago was somewhere near the beginning of Commonwealth Avenue West.

For days after I noticed that tree, I longed to stop the car to take a closer look. That being impossible I just took in as much as I could of this rare tree until I figured a way to get to it. Of course I never got to the tree before it lost all its flowers. So when this tree beckoned me from a walking distance, I made up for the opportunity lost previously by photographing it as if it were a celebrity making a one-day only appearance.
A few weeks later the tree is almost bare of flowers.

When will this Illawarra Flame tree bloom again?


slurp! said...

i think this is the australia flame tree or Illawarra Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius).

while I have seen it before in sydney royal botanical gardens, i didn't know we had one here in SBG as well.

Mable said...

Thanks Slurp for the identification. It was a truly beautiful sight - a red tree against green surroundings. I found an informative site on this tree here:


I hope that we will see more of these trees in Singapore.

Redsagaseed said...

You saw a Illawarra Flame Tree on a road side? May I ask where? I saw the Illawarra at the SBG near the cactus section on 13/7. It was truly a sight to behold! Straits Times ran an article about it in today's Life pages.

Mable said...

Thanks for visiting my blog Redsagaseed. I have posted a map to show the location of the tree that I saw at least one and a half years ago when it was flowering. I d not know if it is there now. I read yesterday's article about this tree. It flowers once in ten years, we are really lucky to see it here.