Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tree Thursday - Fern Tree

Japanese Fern Tree
Filicium decipiens

There are a few Japanese Fern Trees scattered around the City of Fort Lauderdale.  The most notable ones are at a bank on the south west corner of South Andrews Avenue and Davie Boulevard.  In the next few months, I may be planting a few in the Harbordale and Lake Ridge neighborhoods to see how they work out.  They appear to be a great small to medium size tree that actually gives a nice canopy.  The photographs below were taken on October 2, 2013 in the Poinsettia Heights neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale. 
 While called Japanese Fern Tree, it is originally from India and Tropical East Africa.  Even though it is not a native of South Florida, for the more than 20 years I’ve been aware of them, I have not seen any invasive qualities.   The Japanese Fern Tree keeps a nice shaped dark green canopy naturally that may become too thick at times and require a little thinning.  The scientific name literally means “deceiving fern.”  In one article I read, these trees survived Hurricane Andrew in areas where ficus trees toppled so that may be reason to believe they are fairly wind tolerant.  Hawaii has used them as street trees for years and they seem to handle the exhaust and heat just fine. 
I can’t find much information concerning the below characteristics, but here’s what I could find:
Moderate Drought tolerance once established, but I found many admonitions not to overwater.
Slow growth to 25 feet
Not very cold tolerant so it needs to be planted where there are no freezing temperatures
I could find no information on the salt tolerance.