Tree with Fern Like Leaves are beautiful because a fern is one of the top choices in ornamental plants for most gardeners. It is their wild-like leaves that can accentuate the corners and shaded spots in gardens.
Fern leaves are called fronds and these fronds are arranged on a central leaf stalk. In this list-style article, you will be reading about the different trees that are not ferns but have fern-like leaves.
- List of Trees with Fern Like Leaves
List of Trees with Fern Like Leaves
In this list of trees with fern-like foliage, you will notice that most of these trees have similarities with fern trees when it comes to structure and leaves. Tree ferns are ferns that have a trunk from which the fronds emerge, giving them a tree-like appearance.
1. Fern Leaved Wattle
Fern-leaved wattle tree or Acacia filicifolia is a shrubby tree falling inside the legume family and is native to eastern Australia. Apart from its dramatic leaves similar to ferns, it also produces fragrant yellow flowers that bloom from autumn to spring and later develop into brown seed pods.
The tree thrives in warm coastal regions and its compound leaves resemble fronds of ferns. If you live in an area that is tropical, add this evergreen shrub to your outdoor garden. In full sunlight, this plant will grow up to 50 feet tall. As the plant ages, its bark becomes dark brown and develops fissures increasing the tree’s visual appeal.
Fern leaf wattle is a fast-grower but has a short span of only 25 years. The ferny leaves and spray of flowers are what sets it apart from regular trees. It is best planted in windbreaks and does well when grown from seeds.
2. Royal Poinciana
Royal poinciana tree or Delonix regia is a semi-evergreen, flowering tree that has bright green leaves with smaller leaflets arranged on a central stalk. It is also called the Flame tree, Flame of the Forest, Flamboyant tree, and Phoenix flower tree due to its bright red flame-like flowers that bloom in summer.
Poinciana can grow up to 40 feet tall adding about five feet height each year. It produces a lot of flowers in full sunlight and you will be in awe of this tree when it is fully covered in red blooms. It is better to grow these trees in a big and open space as it has an extensive root system.
Flame trees grow best in warmer climates but can tolerate shorter periods of frost and cool temperatures. You might see some of its leaves falling off in winter. This species is endangered in the wild but has been cultivated for its ornamental value, thus saving it from becoming extinct.
3. Velvet Mesquite Tree
Prosopis Velutina or the Velvet Mesquite is a small to medium, semi-evergreen, invasive species of tree native to North American deserts. It is deciduous in areas with cool temperatures and frost. In autumn, its leaves usually fall off.
This plant will grow up to 40 feet tall, and its fern-like foliage and fruits have hair that makes them appear velvety. This tree is well-suited to grow in arid areas. Pruning the tree in spring helps maintain its size and make it bushier.
Mesquite is considered invasive and dangerous for local crops as it is similar to weeds and does not let anything else grow properly. It has deep roots and thorns at the base of branches. It produces yellow blooms in cylindrical clusters in spring.
The Jacaranda tree or Jacaranda mimosifolia is a flowering tree native to South America. However, it has been sold widely all over the world and can be found in almost all warm climates, which means wherever there’s a warm climate, this fern-lookalike tree would thrive. It is also familiarized with other names such as the Fern tree, Black poui, Blue jacaranda, the Exam tree, and the Purple panic.
Jacaranda thrives in warm, tropical climates and has gorgeous violet flowers that bloom from spring to summer. Its leaves look very similar to ferns. It is a fast-growing tree that would reach 25 to 40 feet in height.
5. The Honey Locust
The Honey Locust tree or Gleditsia Triacanthos is a tree species native to North America but has adapted to grow in many places across the globe. Some of its common names include the Thorny honeylocust and Thorny locust.
These are large trees that can grow 65 to 100 feet tall and also have a long life cycle with some of them living up to 120 years. It is the massive shade and fern-like foliage that make them a preferred choice of ornamental trees.
Their thorns protect them from herbivores. Their recent spread and increase in population all over the world have made them borderline invasive.
6. Japanese Fern Tree
Japanese Fern Trees or Filicium Decipiens are bushy, slow-growing, evergreen trees that have fern-like foliage. It is also called Thika palm in its native regions of southern India and Sri Lanka. Its loosely clustered white and pink flowers bloom once a year in late spring and summer but they are small and insignificant.
It is this tree’s fern-like foliage that sets it apart from the rest of the trees. The glossy leaflets are arranged in pairs. Since it is a slow-grower and remains small to medium-sized, it does not need frequent pruning. It can grow 20 to 25 feet in height.
Known as fern trees, these are neither ferns nor are they native to Japan. They originate from South Asia and East Africa. It is due to their exotic look that they are in high demand for landscaping gardens.
7. Golden Rain Tree
The Golden rain tree or Koelreuteria paniculata is a small to medium-sized, deciduous flowering tree native to Eastern Asia but is found all over the world. This tree is even called by other common names such as the Pride of India, the Golden rain tree, the China tree and the Varnish tree.
It is a landscape tree known for its small, fragrant flowers and conical fruits. It can grow 30 to 45 feet tall. Its bark is smooth and light brown when young and becomes more furrowed as the tree ages.
They grow well in well-drained soils with medium moisture levels. Fertilize it in spring with a well-balanced fertilizer for proper growth.
8. Staghorn Sumac
Staghorn sumac or Rhus Typhina is a deciduous, flowering shrubby tree species native to eastern North America. It is grown just like an ornamental plant in temperate climate zones. It has large, bright green, alternate compound leaves similar to ferns and can grow 16 to 30 feet tall.
The tree is notable for its extensive root system which makes it unsuitable for smaller gardens. It is a low-maintenance tree as it can survive poor and dry soil conditions.
Copperpod or Peltophorum pterocarpum is a deciduous, ornamental tree indigenous to southeastern Asia. Also known as the Yellow flame tree, Yellow-flamboyant, and Yellow poinciana, it can grow up to 80 feet tall. In rare cases, this beautiful tree can grow double in height.
It has bipinnate leaves similar to ferns and produces yellow blooms in spring that later turn into red pods and black when ripe. It is their fern-like foliage and yellow blooms that have made them a popular choice as a decorative shrub. The leaves are dark green and the leaflets are oval-shaped.
10. Comptonia Peregrina
Comptonia peregrina is a flowering, deciduous, low-growing, shrubby plant that looks very much like a fern but is not a fern. It is also called Sweet fern and is native to eastern North America. The small-sized plant has leaves that have a sweet odor when crushed.
The aromatic and fresh leaves of this plant are used to make tea and used as a seasoning in various dishes. It is also used as an anti-itch treatment. It thrives in full sunlight and partial shade in sandy soils. Keep the soil moisture high but avoid using clay soils to grow this plant as its roots will suffocate.
The Sweet fern attracts many beneficial insects and moths that help in the process of pollination. Its delicate look gives an exotic and lush look to gardens. You might find it growing along roadsides.
11. Smooth Sumac
Smooth sumac or Rhus glabra is a commonly found shrubby tree indigenous to North America. It is also known by other familiar names such as the White sumac, the Scarlet sumac, and the Upland sumac. Its height ranges between 10 and 20 feet.
It has fern-like foliage with compound leaflets alternately placed at different heights. The deciduous leaves become colorful in fall and yellow-green flowers bloom in winter. The tree has a moderate growth rate adding a couple of inches of height each year.
Smooth sumac invites many beneficial insects to flowers and works well for pollination. To maintain its size and shape, lightly prune the tree every year in spring. Please note that this tree is invasive. Avoid planting them in flower beds.
12. Fern Pine Columnar Tree
Fern pine columnar tree or Podocarpus gracilior is an evergreen, rainforest tree indigenous to Africa. It has skinny green leaves giving the appearance of ferns. Its lower branches droop downwards and are pruned to maintain shape. Its height varies between 30 and 50 feet.
It is a versatile plant as you can either maintain its shape like a hedge or shrub or let it grow taller outdoors in the ground. It is drought-tolerant and fairly pest resistant. The tree grows flowers and fruits but they are pretty insignificant compared to the foliage.
Mimosa tree or Albizia julibrissin is an invasive species native to Asia with leaves that look quite similar to ferns and pink feathery flowers. Its flowers look like fluff balls giving the plant a distinctive look. The tree is covered with pink flowers in summer.
It is also known by other common names such as the Silk tree, Pink silk, and Persian silk plant. It is a fast-growing tree but its stems are weak and tend to break due to strong winds. It remains relatively smaller in size compared to other trees.
Compared to other trees such as Jacaranda, mimosas are short-lived with their lifespans ranging from 10 to 20 years. They are tolerant of cooler temperatures and short frost periods. However, you must make sure that you plant them in an area where they can receive full sunlight during the day.
14. Soft Tree Fern
Soft tree fern or Dicksonia antarctica is an evergreen fern native to eastern Australia. It is also called Man fern due to its height which can be up to 50 feet. It is also called Tasmanian tree fern because it is native to the moist, shaded areas of forests and mountains of Tasmania and Eastern Australia.
If you live in a region with a dry climate, install drip irrigation or a sprinkler system to maintain moisture around the plant’s roots. It is a tough plant that does well in poorly drained soils. Its common names are Australian tree fern and Wooly tree fern. It is a slow grower, however, it does not grow too tall outside its natural environment.
15. Hummingbird Tree
The Hummingbird tree or Sesbania grandiflora is a small fast-growing leguminous tree native to South Asia and Northern Australia. It is even called and made famous by common names such as the Vegetable hummingbird, the West Indian pea, Katurai, and Agati.
It bears white, red, and pink flowers that bloom in spring and summer. The flowers and leaves are edible and commonly consumed in Asia. This small, erect, soft-wooded tree can grow 10 to 30 feet tall. All parts of the tree are can be eaten and they even have various medicinal uses.
Ferns are flowerless plants that grow in damp and shady areas away from direct sunlight. They are popular for their wild and natural-looking foliage. But many trees have foliage quite similar to ferns.
If you want to bring a piece of nature to your home, try growing some of these trees with fern-like leaves. Now that you know all about plants and trees that have foliage similar to ferns, which one would you be planning to grow in your garden?
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