Like other trees of the genus, it is an Australian species, specifically from the east coast of Australia from New South Wales to Cape York (Queensland). Brachychiton is derived from the Greek brachys, 'short' and chiton, 'covering', alluding to its seed coat. The specific epithet acerifolius alludes to its leaves, similar to those of Acer saccharum, a maple, although in reality it has a great variability in the shape of its leaves, which can range from entire (especially in adult specimens) to lobed with between 3 and 7 lobes.
One of its most appreciated characteristics in gardening is that, being semi-deciduous (it loses most of its leaves, but not all of them), it flowers at the end of spring before the new leaves sprout. The flowers are small scarlet-red bells that cover the canopy with a bright red colour, although the profusion of flowers depends a lot on the weather and does not always have the same intensity.
It is also a fast-growing and long-lived tree, easily adaptable, although it requires a lot of water in summer, although it resists dryness well. On the other hand, it does not flower until maturity, which normally occurs at the age of 8 years. The Australian Aborigines eat its yellow seeds once they have been roasted.