Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Firmiana

Firmiana

A genus of 9 trees native to southeast Asia except for one that is native to Africa.
They cast dense shade and making excellent shade trees.
They not fussy about soil. Some protection from wind is good, especially when young.
They are propagated wither from lateral shoots taken in early spring or from seed.

Firmiana colorata
A large, deciduous tree native from India to Java; reaching a maximum size of 80 x 40 feet with a huge bettressed trunk.
The leaves are large, up to 12 x 12 inches and is either palmate or oval with 3 or 5 lobes.
Hardy zones 9 to 12 and very drought tolerant.

Firmiana simplex ( Chinese Parasol Tree )
Native to the Orient from the Ryukyu Islands to Vietnam and also China, this is a fast growing, rounded, large tree reaching around 60 feet or more. Some records include: growth rate - 6 feet; largest on record - 100 x 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 4 feet ( unconfirmed reports of 120 x 60 feet ); longest lived - 100 + years. It is often used as a street tree in China.
The large 5-lobe palmate, deciduous foliage resembles that of some maples, with 3 to 7 lobes but is gigantic to a foot or more. Foliage on vigorous shoots can be up to 20 x 24 inches in size. The foliage is glossy rich-green.
The yellow-green flowers are borne in large terminal clusters up to 18 inches, during early summer. The flowers individually are up to 0.5 inches across.
The attractive bark is smooth and bright green to gray-green.
Very few other non-tropical trees have similar bark.
Hardy zones 7 to 10 tolerating as low as -7 F, this tree though rarely seen makes an excellent exotic looking ornamental shade tree in the Mid Atlantic and Southern U.S. Tolerant of heavy clay and wet soils and may become locally invasive on floodplains. It requires hot humid summers to thrives, and either doesn't thrive or is less hardy in cooler maritime climates. It is generally immune to pests or disease.

* photos taken on May 16 2010 @ Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore, MD


* photo taken on 4th of July @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photos taken on July 17 2010 @ Morris Arboretum, Philly, PA


* photos taken on Aug 25 2013 @ University of Maryland, College Park


'Variegata'
Foliage is green and mottled white

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