Firewheel Tree Nadiah Roslan

Firewheel Tree

Did You Know?

  • The shape of its leaves are quite variable, like many species from the Proteaceae family of plants
  • When grown from seed, it can take seven years or more to flower, but a cutting from a mature plant will usually flower within 3 - 4 years
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Its genus name Stenocarpus means narrow fruit, referring to its seed pods; and its species name sinuatus means wavy, referring to the edges of the leaves.

Evergreen tree, up to 35 m high, but much smaller when grown in gardens where it reaches a height of only about 10 m with a width of 5 m.


Dark glossy green and paler underneath, they can be oval-shaped, lobed or have wavy edges. They are usually 15 – 25 cm long (but can be up to 45 cm long) and 2 – 5 cm wide, and are generally smaller on exposed branches. There is one distinct vein running down the centre of each leaf.


Bright red with a yellow tip, and 2.5 – 4 cm long. They cluster in a wheel-like arrangement at the end of a stalk. The cluster can be up to 10 cm in diameter and consists of 6 - 20 flowers.


A grey-brown seed pod which is 5 – 10 cm long and has short hairs. The seeds inside are 2.5 – 3.5 cm long.

Field Guide

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What to Observe

  • First fully open single flower

  • Full flowering (record all days)

  • End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)

  • Open seed pods (record all days)

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When and Where

When To Look

  • From December through to June
  • Flowers appear in summer through to early winter (some odd flowers may appear at other times after high rainfall and humidity)
  • Seed pods appear after flowering

Where To Look

  • From north-eastern NSW (north of the Nambucca River) to north Queensland
  • Adaptable to a range of climates if given adequate water and is planted outside these regions
  • In tropical or sub-tropical rainforests or open areas along the coast and inland mountain ranges, including urban areas
  • Look in parks, gardens and along streets
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What Else?

Similar Species

Illawarra Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius) has bell-shaped flowers that don’t form a wheel-like arrangement.

Poinciana (Delonix regia) has feathery and fern-like leaves, larger flowers (8 – 15 cm in diameter) with five petals (each 4 – 7 cm long), and larger seed pods (20 – 70 cm long).