Synonym(s): Firmiana platanifolia (L. f.) Schott & Endl., Sterculia platanifolia L. f.
Family: Sterculiaceae (cocoa family)
Duration and Habit: Perennial Tree
Chinese Parasoltree has a very unusual appearance for a deciduous tree, having green stems and bark and extremely large, three to five-lobed bright green leaves. Each leaf is up to 12 inches across and casts as much shade as an actual parasol. Chinese Parasoltree has a dense, upright, oval canopy and reaches 35 to 50 feet in height, spreading 15 to 20 feet. In June or July, 10 to 20-inch-long, upright, loose, terminal panicles of yellow/green blooms appear and are followed by the production of peculiar pods which split open into four petal-like sections to reveal the small, round seeds. The foliage of Chinese Parasoltree can turn brilliant yellow before dropping in fall to reveal an interesting branching structure of green stems.
Native Lookalikes: Currently no information available here yet, or there are no native Texas species that could be confused with Chinese parasoltree.
Biology & Spread:
U.S. Habitat: Prefers moist areas.
U.S. Nativity: Introduced to U.S.
Native Origin: Asia
U.S. Present: AL, AR, CA, FL, GA, LA, MD, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA
Distribution in Texas:
List All Observations of Firmiana simplex reported by Citizen Scientists
Gilman, E.F and D.G. Watson. 1993. Firmiana simplex, Chinese Parasoltree. United States Forest Service, Fact Sheet ST-259.
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