Morten Bay Chestnut, Morton Bay Chestnut, Moreton Bay Chestnut, Black Bean Tree

Castanospermum australe

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Castanospermum (kas-tan-oh-SPER-mum) (Info)
Species: australe (aw-STRAL-ee) (Info)



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


over 40 ft. (12 m)


USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Encino, California

San Diego, California

Spring Valley, California

Upland, California

Merritt Island, Florida

Miami, Florida

Mulberry, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Palmetto, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Wellborn, Florida

Honolulu, Hawaii

Deer Park, Texas

Portland, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 1, 2013, dojustdat from Baltimore, MD wrote:

The seeds are edible when cooked properly.


On Oct 4, 2010, gibsonf2 from Pompano Beach, FL wrote:

This plant is also called the Lucky Bean Plant. The pinnate leaves are also considered poisonous to animals. Do not plant this tree next to a swimming pool, patio area or near any power lines as the root zone is very extensive. The roots can also break apart any irrigation(sprinkler lines) in your lawn. It is best to grow this plant in a small container about 8
inches in diameter. Remember to keep plant(s)away from your pets.


On Jun 23, 2010, rosebudmia wrote:

I have personally not tried to grow the black bean tree, but at some point in time, they were widely planted around public parks, libraries, and the like, and many stands of healthy, mature trees can be seen in the Miami, Florida area. I have not noticed that there have been any recent new plantings, however.


On Feb 7, 2009, popper1 from Lakeland, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Very pretty plants, great flowers that are cauliflorous and somewhat hidden. Very pretty tree, foliage is very nice & have a great shape. Does well in Florida.


On Mar 17, 2004, baz wrote:

The generous seeds (three to a pod is typical) carry poison unless processed. Traditionally, tribal folk around Brisbane used to 'wash' away the poisons before cooking and bashing pulp into a 'damper' mix, for bread or cookies. (See J. Hauser, Brisbane) to learn fascinating detail about this truly valuable and historic tree. "Castanospermine" would yield fruit too for further research. That knowledge derives from traditional wisdoms tried and tested over many centuries (or more) around Moreton Bay, and so those values might be attached to the ongoing connection to that knowledge and land of the relevant primary custodians, where it is native at least.


On Jul 9, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a relatively attractive tree with very nice orange blossoms that grow in small clusters off the middle of the larger stems (not near where the leaves are). Unfortunately the blossoms are hard to see until you get underneath the tree. Makes great shade. Only for relatively warm areas of the US (can't handle a lot of frost). Seeds germinate easily, and seedlings like lots of water. As the name suggests, it's a native of Australia, though it can also be found on New Caledonia