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STENOCARPUS sinuatus

Image of Stenocarpus sinuatus

James H. Schutte

Family

Proteaceae

Botanical Name

STENOCARPUS sinuatus

Plant Common Name

Firewheel Tree

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

The firewheel tree is among Australia's prettiest foliage and flowering native trees. The glossy, deeply lobed leaves make a beautiful backdrop to the fiery crimson flower clusters that look like pinwheels or undersea coral creatures. This slow-growing broadleaf evergreen tree is native to the eastern coastal rainforests of Queensland and New South Wales. It attains an upright oval habit with a smooth tan to sandy brown bark.

The leaves may be quite variable among trees. Always a glossy, deep olive-green, each leaf may be a entire oval or a deeply lobed leaf. Green flower buds emerge in late summer in a flattened cluster that mimics the look of a pinwheel. By early autumn, the buds blush yellow and finally red. Each "spoke" in the flower wheel has a swollen yellow tip where the floral organs are. There may be a off-putting floral fragrance at night in the effort to attract the moth pollinators. Afterward, the flowers develop into narrow, leather, boat-shaped fruits that shed numerous winged seeds. Although flowering is heaviest in the warmth of autumn, sporadic blooming may occur at other times of year, often arising directly from the trunk or branches.

Grow firewheel tree in a deep, fertile, acidic, moist but well-drained soil. Avoid applying fertilizers rich in phosphorous or containing high amounts of nitrates. It is moderately drought tolerant but responds well to irrigation in the heat of summer. When young this tree is very susceptible to subfreezing temperatures, but older plants survive with foliage dieback. It's slow to recover from winter cold damage. This species is also highly sensitive to herbicides. Firewheel tree grows well in full sun to bright dappled shade. Use it as a specimen shade and flowering tree in a yard or along a street. It rarely sheds litter, and is an exceptional tree near swimming pools or other public areas wear clean walkways or patios are needed. Be patient with young saplings, as it may take many years before flowers are finally produced.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 13

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    30'-75' / 9.1m - 22.9m (40)

  • Width

    15'-25' / 4.6m - 7.6m (20)

  • Bloom Time

    Early Fall, Fall

  • Native To

    Australia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Crimson, Orange Red

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Bronze, Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Olive, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Olive, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Olive, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Olive, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan, Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Street Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No