Chinese hat tree (Firmiana simplex)

Firmiana simplex, a tree that offers great shade

El firmiana simplex is a tree that grows as much as any other tree and that has the particularity of giving it a better environment to any place where it is sown and / or cultivated.

This species is known by multiple common names, such as the Chinese umbrella tree, the phoenix tree, the varnish tree, and the Chinese hat tree, among others. And how will you know its scientific name is firmiana simplex.

General data of firmiana simplex

branches of the tree called Firmiana simplex

El firmiana simplex it tends to be narrow and erect when young, beginning to spread once established. Although reasonably hardy, it requires hot summers to grow well and therefore will be best in hot, sunny gardens (preferably refugees from strong winds).

The Chinese hat tree is an unusual tree in the United Kingdom, although by name, it is correct to say that it is a medium-sized species of the mallow family, originally from Asia.

El firmiana simplex It has beautiful large dark green leaves that turn yellow in fall before falling. The bark of young plants is smooth and bright green. The specimens that manage to settle they can bloom, but usually only in a hot summer.

The wonderful and most outstanding thing about this tree is that has the facility to grow in a wide variety of soils if they are well drained in sun to partial shade. It could be used as a shade tree, but consider using native trees.

Similarly, you should also know that it is known for its large lobed leaves They can grow 20 to 30 cm wide, allowing it to offer dense shade. Long panicles of yellow-green flowers are produced in early summer followed by unusual seed pods. This tree is capable of becoming a weed due to seedlings and is considered invasive in some southern states.

For now, we must say that there is a high probability that you hate or love this tree, since its cultivation allows a total change to be achieved wherever it is established, to the point of turn a simple place into a place with a tropical flavor.


El firmiana simplex is a small to medium-sized upright deciduous tree with a rounded crown and usually grows from 10 to 15 meters high.


tree with large leaves called Firmiana simplex

This tree stands out for having very large leaves, with 3 to 5 lobed palm veins that are bright green above and pubescent below. It is worth mentioning that the leaves turn an undistinguished yellow in autumn.

An interesting fact that will surely surprise you at the time, is that this tree is left without leaves for a long period in the winter, an unusual trait for a tropical-looking tree.


The slightly fragrant, star-shaped, yellowish-green flowers in long terminal panicles (up to 30 cm) mostly bloom at twig ends in early summer. The flowers give rise to leathery capsules that open when they are ripe (autumn) in 4 or 5 sections, each section contains 1 to 3 seeds.


The trunk often does not branch for 15 meters before split into three or more slender, erect, slightly spreading stems bearing lobed, tropical-looking leaves of about 30 centimeters. Each stem looks as if it could be cut and carried like an umbrella.


It tolerates all types of soil, although it is better in areas where they will be protected from the wind, being very useful trees to place near swimming pools. Big trees they are difficult to transplant due to the root, as it is very deep. In such a case, the transplant should be done at an early age before its roots begin to branch out and spread too far.


person leaning on a tree that gives a lot of shade, such as Firmiana simplex

The main thing to keep in mind when growing the firmiana simplex, is that you have to place it in a place where it is or will receive constant sun. Although he also it is good to be in places that are partially sunny. This is each one, however, our recommendation is that you opt for the first option.

Of course, regardless of what you choose, whether it is in full sun or in a semi-shady place, it is essential that you protect the tree against drafts. They are not very good at being exposed to the wind and have to be protected at all times.

The good thing about this species is that has a fairly fast growth rate. So try to choose a good site with enough space so that when it grows and begins to branch, it does not end up affected other plants and objects that are close to them, such as power lines.

As was made clear in one of the characteristics, el firmiana simplex can literally grow in almost any soil. That is, you can perfectly plant it in a clay floor or sandy, since it will grow anyway.

The only detail or condition that the soil has to meet is that it must have a good drainage system, since stagnation of water seriously affects the plant and it will end up rotting the roots and the base of the trunk. As for the irrigation that you must provide, it has to be moderate and adequate. The quantity has to be controlled especially when the tree is still in its young state.

On the other hand, once they grow to their peak, these trees can withstand long droughts, so no need for constant watering when he is an adult. So just watering it two or three times a month is more than enough. With this information you are ready to have this beautiful tree in your garden or in the green space that you have in your home.

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