Castanospermum australe "Moreton Bay Chestnut" Organic Well-Established Plant
These plants are organic and well-established and range from 10-15" in height. Castanospermum australe Moreton Bay Chestnut, Black Bean, Lucky Nut C. australe is the only species of its genus and is in the Fabaceae family (Leguminosae). The species is native to the coastal rain forests of Australia and Vanuatu. C. australe has a wide range of size and form. Typically it grows from 20 to 60 feet tall with a symmetrical rounded canopy and low branches. The tree has wonderful dark green, glossy, pinnate leaves. The stems and branches become covered in dense masses of beautiful red and yellow, pea-like flowers in Summer. The nectar rich flowers attract birds, bats, butterflies, and bees. After the flowers come the large bean-like pods. Each pod contains 1-4 huge seeds. The seeds weigh roughly a full ounce a piece! C. australe is amenable to container culture and can even be grown as a houseplant! In Australia it is a very popular potted plant as well as a street side shade tree. As a legume with an extensive root system it is an outstanding erosion control and soil building species. As an ethnobotanical this tree has a rich and wonderful history. The large seeds, although toxic when raw, are specially prepared by leaching and cooking which renders them into a tasty treat with a sweet chestnut-like flavor. The Aborigines consider them a staple. The pods are astringent. The seeds have been shown to contain potent anti-cancer compounds and recent studies have shown strong effects in inhibiting HIV.