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Chinese Parasol Tree (Firmiana simplex)

Chinese Parasol Tree Chinese Parasol Tree Leaves One of the interesting trees in the Shade Tree Collection at the Arboretum is a Chinese Parasol Tree. In late October and early November, its large leaves (up to 12 in. wide) are bright yellow gradually turning to brown. This native of China, Japan, and southeast Asia, a member of the Cacao (cocoa) family (Sterculiaceae), is planted as an ornamental tree in the Southeastern US and has become naturalized in a few locations. The Chinese Parasol Tree grows rapidly to heights of 30 to 50 ft and develops vigorous sprouts around its base that need to be cut back periodically. This sprouting often results in multiple trunks. The wood has been used to make furniture and coffins. Medicinal uses have included salves and lotions to reduce swelling and treat such conditions as hemorrhoids, carbuncles, and sores.

Chinese Parasol Tree Flowers Chinese Parasol Tree Blossom In July, numerous branched inflorescences bear fragrant yellow/orange/green flowers that attract such pollinators as butterflies and bees.

Chinese Parasol Tree BarkChinese Parasol Tree Fruit The relatively smooth, light-colored bark has a greenish tint and has been used for fiber to make cordage and cloth. The female flowers develop into brown pods which split into four sections and are said to resemble parasols.

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