Each branch of the Tree Waratah is festooned with these stunning flowers

There is a street tree in Stanmore that made me stop my car to go & have a look. While I was there one other person also came to have a look.  Like me they took photos.

Its correct name is Alloxylon flammeum, but most people call it a Tree Waratah or Red Silky Oak. It comes from the Proteaceae family.  Others in this family are Banksias & Grevilleas. It is native to the rainforest areas on Australia’s east coast, though it can be grown almost Australia-wide.

The Tree Waratah is a stunning tree to look at. It has thin erect branches & is slow growing which would make it attractive to many people.  It has long dark green leaves that are also attractive.  When it flowers in spring through summer it is covered in bright red flowers with each flower looking like a bunch in its own right.  The flowers are bird-attracting which adds to its value as I believe as many trees as possible, especially street trees, should be providing food for urban wildlife.

In perfect conditions the Tree Waratah it will grow to between 8-10 metres with a canopy between 2-4 metres.  It is not a large tree, making it suitable as a street tree.  It can also be pruned to be a large shrub & would cope with pruning by power companies, as it would easily form a v-shape.  If planted in the right place & because of its erect growth habit it could be allowed to grow into its natural shape & not have to be pruned.  Also, it is a much superior alternative to the Ornamental Pear that is currently in vogue as a street tree.

I have never seen these trees for sale in a nursery, but you could ask your nursery to order it in from a specialist nursery for you.   It grows easily from cuttings. If you like Australian birds, this is a tree to seriously consider.  It can be an object of extreme beauty in your garden or if we were lucky enough, Council could do us a favour & plant them as street trees. Wouldn’t that be fantastic.

close-up shows why they are referred to as a Waratah

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