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Filicium Decipiens (Japanese fern) is an elegant small tree, reaching 20 – 25 feet in height. The common name is misleading since the tree does not occur naturally in japan. One of its more attractive traits it’s the dense, rounded crown and straight trunk. With a brownish bark, regularly flaky, peeling to reveal pinkish inner bark.
Furthermore, leaves are dark green, compound, pinnate, with 6 – 8 pairs of leaflets, opposite or sub-opposite, having a prominent midrib with a leafy wing, 6 – 8 inches long overall; leaflets are linear oblong, 1 1/2 – 5 x 1/2 – 1 inches. The leaf arrangement resembles that of a fern, hence its commmon name.
Also, flowers are borne at leaf axils in short-stemmed clusters; blooms are white, small and numerous with a short stem, clusters are 6 – 8 inches long; besides male and female flowers on separate plants. Fruits are ovoid, shiny, 1/2 inch in diameter with a single seed, used for propagation.
Filicium Decipiens (Japanese fern) is tolerant of most well-drained soils. And it is very popular thanks to its wide applications in landscaping, as a garden specimen tree, perfect as a small shade tree for deck or patio, backdrop for a flowerbed, or accent tree. Although, fruit litter is a problem if planted near a sidewalk or driveway.