Chinese Parasoltree Firmiana simplex is a deciduous tree (50’ in height) native to China and introduced into the U.S. in 1757 as an ornamental. It is classified by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries as a Tier I invasive species defined as “currently causing severe or widespread negative impacts on wildlife or natural communities in Louisiana”. It is widely scattered within Louisiana, especially in mesic forests; well established colonies are present in the Tunica Hills of West Feliciana Parish.
Chinese Parasoltree is attractive to some landscapers even today because of its upright, narrow form, large tropical-looking leaves, and rapid growth. The species readily self-pollinates, self-seeds, and produces an abundance of seed; therefore, a single reproductive individual can expand to form a large colony. Seed dispersal occurs by wind and water, giving this species the ability to aggressively spread into new areas.
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