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Firmiana simplex (L.) W. F. Wight

Modern name

Firmiana simplex (L.) W.Wight


Hibiscus simplex L.; Sterculia platanifolia L.f.; Firmiana platanifolia (L.f.) Marsigli

A tree up to 60 ft high, with noble foliage and a trunk smooth even in age. Leaves variable in size, but averaging 6 to 8 in. long and as much or more wide; on vigorous young plants they are over 1 ft long. Ordinarily, the leaves have three rather shallow, pointed lobes towards the end, but often they are five-lobed, with the general outline of a maple-leaf, the base heart-shaped; they are either furnished with stellate down beneath, especially in the vein-axils, or are glabrous. The leaf-stalk is two-thirds to quite the length of the blade. Flowers small, yellow, produced on a branching panicle as much as 18 in. long, and 9 in. wide. For fruits see introduction above.

Native of S. China, Formosa, and the Ryukyus, but introduced in 1757 from Japan, where it is much cultivated. It was long treated as a greenhouse plant, and is, indeed, better suited in Cornwall and such-like localities than in the London districts, where, to be safe, it needs wall protection. Its beauty, however, is only fully shown in a spot where it can develop freely on all sides. It is very fine on the Riviera, especially in the Casino Gardens at Monte Carlo.



Other species in the genus

[No species article available]