Chinese Parasoltree

Chinese Parasoltree Plant Information

Chinese Parasoltree grows in the following 13 states:

Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia

Firmiana simplex, commonly known as the Chinese parasol tree, Chinese parasoltree, or wutong (Chinese: ; pinyin: wtng), is an ornamental plant of tree size that has recently been assigned to the family Malvaceae and was formerly the Cacao Family (Chocolate Family) Sterculiaceae in the order Malvales, and is native to Asia. It grows up to 16m (52ft) tall. It has alternate, deciduous leaves up to 30cm (12 inches) across and small fragrant, greenish-white flowers borne in large inflorescences. A flowering tree varies in fragrance with weather and time of the day, having a lemony odor with citronella and chocolate tones. A tall, stately specimen grows in the botanical garden in Florence, Italy. Bumble bees and Giant Mason Bees readily visit the flowers in Maryland, U.S. People grow this tree as an ornamental in warm regions of North America.

Due to its superior sonic properties, the wood is used for the soundboards of several Chinese instruments, including the guqin and guzheng.
According to an article in the journal Nature of 1884, the leaves of Sterculia platanifolia were dried for smoking; the reason for smoking it was not given, but another source simply says that it was used as a substitute for tobacco.
This species is an aggressive, invasive weed in the warmer parts of North America Some people promote its removal and give instructions for drastic measures, including destruction of nursery stock. This plant is self-fertile, and its seeds spread readily, especially along watercourses, growing rapidly after germination in favorable sites. Offspring effectively compete with many other species.

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