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Triplaris cumingiana (Long John) is a medium to large-sized tree which commonly attains a height of 50 to 70 feet, but can grow taller. It has an oblong, narrow, moderately dense crown. Furthermore, it develops small buttresses and has thin, multi-colored, mottled attractive exfoliating bark. In addition the leaves are ovate to oblong, smooth or slightly rough above and hairy beneath, 6 to 12 by 1 1/2 to 5 1/2 inches. Moreover, the male and female flowers are found on separate trees. The flowers are borne in terminal clusters up to 12 inches long. Additionally, the blooms are tiny, white and green. Female flowers after pollination elongate and turn a rosy red violet color and are showy. The trees are grown from seed.
In addition, the attractive fruits are hard, winged, reddish to brown when mature. Also, the fruit measures about 1.25 to 1.75 inches long, and is carried away by wind. Triplaris cumingiana (Long John) prefers deep fertile soils with organic matter and average drainage. It is harvested in the wild for its timber, the wood of general use locally. The striking leaves, flowers and fruits make this tree a fine choice as a specimen or accent tree. The tree can be used for shade in the garden or park, and it can be grown along streets. The ant tree common name comes from the fact that ants favor colonizing it.