Firmiana simplex

3 Sep

Firmiana simplex (15/08/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Firmiana simplex (15/08/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 15m

Eventual Spread: 10m

Hardiness: 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a

Family: Malvaceae

Firmiana simplex Leaf (15/08/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Firmiana simplex Leaf (15/08/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Firmiana simplex is a deciduous tree with a rounded habit. Its mid green leaves are palmately 5 lobed, up to 30cm long and 30cm across. Its greenish bark is smooth. Its fragrant yellow/ white flowers appear terminally are borne in panicles. Its fruit are pea sized leathery capsules and attached to a leafy carpel.

Firmiana simplex Flower (15/08/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Firmiana simplex Flower (15/08/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Firmiana simplex, commonly known as Chinese Parasol Tree or Wutong, is native to east China, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam. This tree is considered an invasive species in parts of North America. Firmiana simplex is synonymous with Hibiscus simplex.

Firmiana simplex Flower Detail (15/08/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Firmiana simplex Flower Detail (15/08/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

The etymological root of the binomial name Firmiana is named after Karl Joseph von Firmian (1716-1782), an Austrian statesman. Simplex is from the Latin meaning ‘simple’.

The landscape architect may find Firmiana simplex useful as a small tree with large dramatic leaves and fragrant flowers. It should be noted that this tree may readily self seed given the right conditions.

Firmiana simplex Bark (15/08/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Firmiana simplex Bark (15/08/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Firmiana simplex flowers are attractive to pollinating insects, including bees.

Firmiana simplex prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Firmiana simplex requires little maintenance.

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