Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Germinating Brazilian Tree Fern (Schizolobium parahybum)

    The first species I'll be posting about is Schizolobium parahybum (Brazilian Tree Fern, Tower Tree, Brazilian Fire Tree).  Now to clarify, there also appears to be a Blechnum that is called Brazilian Tree Fern.  This is not the plant this post is about.  The plant I've ordered does not display any red foliage and is not a true fern.  As you can see in the above photo, it looks very similar to a tree fern when young.  As it ages, the stem begins to branch and the plant eventually grows into a large tree, covered with yellow flowers each spring.

    Now clearly my trees will never get this large because Schizolobium parahybum are by no means hardy in USDA zone 6 (minimum USDA zone 9b).  I'll just keep them in pots and bring them in for the winter.  I don't expect any flowers just small trees possibly with a few branches.  They enjoy heat and humidity and the summers in South-Western Ontario should suit them nicely.

    Most sources say this plant is easy to grow from seed.  Each seed should be scarified and soaked in water for 4 hours.  The seeds should then be planted 1-2cm deep in well drained soil.  They should be kept relatively warm (25C or higher) and constantly moist (but not soaked).  Some sources suggest putting the seeds in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them after lightly scarring.  Let them sit in the water for about a minute and then plant.  This is probably the method I'll use.  I've successfully tried it with Adansonia digitata (Baobab) seeds so I don't expect the seeds to be killed.  Germination should occur within about a month.

    Stay tuned for my next post on Jacaranda mimosifolia.


  1. Both jacarandas and Schizolobium parahybum are ubiquitous in Pretoria, my home town. Schizolobium parahybum is also known as Reach For The Sky in South Africa. It is always an impressive sight to behold when a giant multi-crowned specimen towers over an immaculately mowed suburban lawn.

  2. I've definitely seen pictures of the jacaranda lined streets. Absolutely gorgeous. I think that's actually how I first discovered the tree, years ago. Hopefully my S. Parahybum do well, but they'll never rival anything that can stay outside all year!

  3. hi. how do u scarify the schizolobium parahybum seeds? please help me. after scarifying the seeds..i need to soak it in a hot boiling water for 1 minute and sow the seeds right? please reply. thanks in advance.

    1. hi, just put you seeds in hot very hot water just a 4 secons you need to listen a litle sock sound, and later just put you seed in a coking paper warm in a box. an covered and all days in the mornig open the box for oxigen and in 2 wweks is ready.

      pd.the box have stay in as hot place every day.

  4. Yes fey, that's correct. Or you can just slowing pour a pot of boiling water over the seeds for about a minute. Then they don't get quite as hot. always removed the water from the heat source before putting the seeds in.

  5. hi. i dont really understand with lightly scarring the seeds. its hard to use the metal pile or sharp knife. i only can see the wax like powder after i "scar" the seeds. the color of the seeds didnt change. i felt like i did nothing but polishing the hard seeds. please help me on how to scarring the seeds in a proper way..hows it suppose to look like after scarring. :) thanks in advance.


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