Harpullia pendula (SAPINDACEA) Australian Tulipwood

Plants to Plant

A hardy, fast growing, small to medium evergreen tree with attractive dense green foliage. Leaves are alternate, pinnate, with 4-8 leaflets. Greenish yellow flowers in sprays September to December. Features showy orange seed-cases that and open to reveal glossy black seeds. Will tolerate dry conditions and most soil types. Extensively used as a timber tree for its tough light wood which is attractively patterned and easily worked. Logging for its timber has made it scarce in the wild. Brisbane City Council considers it an excellent street tree as it does not have invasive roots, has a dense crown and does not grow high enough to get into the electricity wires. It has become common on Brisbane streets.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Close-up of Fruit

The seeds mature through the spring and summer. To propagate, soak the fresh seed in water to drown any caterpillers, then sow. It germinates within a few weeks. Attracts Australian King Parrot, Speckled Line-blue and Bright Cornelian butterflies. Seed is often eaten leaving empty fruit.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Fruit Showing Seeds

Pendula or drooping refers to the hanging fruit bunches. Also known as Tulipwood, Black Tulip and Tulip Lancewood.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Featured Image

Endemic to Australia, ranging from the Bellinger River, NSW to Mulgrave River near Cairns, north Queensland.

Photo: Tatiana Gerus