Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chinese Bishopwood

Bischofia polycarpa
A fast growing, deciduous tree native to south and central China, reaching up to 33 feet in 15 years and eventually to 66 feet. It is recorded to live as long as 1007 years. Rare in the U.S., it is used as a street tree in Hong Kong.
The trifoliate leaves are coppery-red at first in spring, turning to luxuriant green then back to coppery-red in autumn. The tooth-edged, papery, ovate leaflets are up to 5.5 x 3.5 inches in size.
The green flowers are borne in long panicles in mid spring.
They are followed by brown fruits.
They sprout vigorously after hard winter pruning.
Hardy zones 7 to 10. It thrives in both the hot humid southeast as well as the Pacific Northwest. Tolerant of heat, drought and poor soil.

The related Bischofia javanica is a massive evergreen or semi-evergreen tree reaching up to 133 feet with a trunk diameter of 7.5 feet. The leaves are trifoliate with leaflets up to 6 x 3 inches. Bischofia javanica is native to southeast Asia and is restricted to the tropics and subtropics.

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