A dense, conical, deciduous tree 15-20 m tall in cultivation. Bark irregularly fissured or occasionally smooth. Leaves entire to lobed, palmate, cordate at the base with mature leaves 3-5(-7) lobed to the middle of the leaf; shallow to deeply cut in the juvenile stage, the lobes tapered at the tips or cut nearly to the midrib and divided into further irregular lobes, densely white velvet-hairy below. Leaf stalk mostly 10-15 cm long. Flowers mostly 4-5 cm long, bell-like, orange-red outside, pink inside, tube dark red below; Nov.-Mar. Fruit mostly 10-12 cm long with a rust-coloured, felty surface and stalk 1-2 cm long.
Grows naturally mostly in moist and 'dry' rainforest.
SA: Adelaide Botanic Garden (rear of Museum of Economic Botany also S of Classground). NSW: Sydney (Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, inside Palace Garden entrance). VIC: Burnley (University of Melbourne Burnley Campus 13 m tall, planted c.1928); Melbourne (Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (Melbourne Gardens), Northern Lawn); Geelong (Geelong Botanic Gardens, 18 m tall in 1989); South Yarra (Domain Rd next to the newsagent); Parkville (University of Melbourne System Garden near Biosciences 2).
B. ×incarnatus Guymer subsp. incarnatus (B. discolor × B. populneus) is found as a natural hybrid in the Boonah District of SE Queensland and is also found occasionally in cultivation. A specimen may be seen in Melbourne in the car park of the Austin Hospital; it has leaves that are shiny and hairless above, white hairy below, entire or with 3(-5) narrowly triangular lobes. The flowers are 2-3 cm long and reddish pink.
Source: (1997). Sterculiaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.