What is the plant
is a tree native to eastern China and Taiwan. It is commonly called Chinese tallow, Chinese tallowtree, Florida aspen, chicken tree, gray popcorn tree, or candleberry tree.
The simple, deciduous leaves of this tree are alternate, broad rhombic to ovate in shape and have smooth edges, heart shaped and sometimes with an extended tail often resembling the bo tree, Ficus religiosa. The leaves are bright green in color and slightly paler underneath. They become bright yellows, oranges, purples and reds in the autumn. The tree is monoecious, producing male and female flowers on the same plant.
The waxy green leaves set off the clusters of greenish-yellow and white flowers at bloom time. The flowers occur in terminal spike-like inflorescences up to 20 cm long. Light green in color, these flowers are very conspicuous in the spring. Each pistillate (female) flower is solitary and has a three-lobed ovary, three styles, and no petals. They are located on short branches at the base of the spike. The staminate (male) flowers occur in clusters at the upper nodes of the inflorescence.
Fruits are three-lobed, three-valved capsules. As the capsules mature, their color changes from green to a brown-black. The capsule walls fall away and release three globose seeds, about 12 mm in diameter and weighing about 0.15 g, with a white, tallow-containing covering. Seeds usually hang on the plants for several weeks. In North America, the flowers typically mature from April to June and the fruit ripens from September to October.
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