Chinese parasoltree

Firmiana simplex (L.) W. Wight

U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Tree

Firmiana simplex, parasoltree, is a deciduous tree native to Asia. It has green stems and bark. F. simplex has a dense, upright, oval canopy and grows from 35-50 ft. (10-15 m) tall with a spread of between 15-20 ft. (4.6-6 m).
The alternate, bright green, palmately veined, three to five-lobed leaves of F. simplex are extremely large with each leaf reaching up to 12 in. (30.5 cm) across. The foliage of F. simplex often turns bright yellow in fall.
Firmiana simplex has abundant showy slightly fragrant flowers that appear in late spring or early summer. The flowers are held in terminal, large 10-20 in. (25.4-50.8 cm) wide, loose panicles clustered at the tips of last year’s branches. The flowers lack petals, but have sepals that are yellow and white.
F. simplex fruit are peculiar pods which split open into petal-like sections to reveal the small, round seeds.
Ecological Threat
Firmiana simplex is beginning to be reported more often along roadsides and other disturbed areas. This plant is self-fertile which means it only takes one tree to produce fertile seeds. The prolific seed production along with its quick growth and aggressive competition make F. simplex a candidate for EDRR - Early Detection & Rapid Response program in the warmer regions of the United States.