With round clusters of branches that display their broad, three-pointed leaves in mushroom-shaped tufts, the parasol tree (Firmiana simplex)—also known as the wutong—lends a luxurious vibration to each of the many warm landscapes he happens to adorn. His delicious extravagance should not be surprising, as he’s recently been named a member of the cacao (chocolate) family.
It’s said that the Chinese phoenix, or fenghuang, loves the parasol tree and will alight on no other tree. It’s also said that this mythical bird will only be found in places possessing the utmost harmony and positivity. A lush representative of prosperous and temperate conditions, the very presence of a parasol tree confers a sense of affluence, comfort, and luck. Spend time with one, bring one into your yard, or conjure one up in your visioning mind to reap fortunate blessings of all varieties.
In a story recorded during the Ming Dynasty, “the essence of the five planets” descends upon a wutong (parasol) tree. The master craftsman who observed this knew that this would make the tree’s wood perfect for creating a Chinese zither (a traditional musical instrument), as it contained the “cosmic essences.” Next comes a description of the alchemical creation of a most magical Chinese zither, possessing the eight superior qualities of “delicacy, uniqueness, serenity, elegance, dolefulness, grandeur, sweetness, and lingering vibrations.” To this day the parasol tree’s wood is used to make Chinese zithers due to its excellent sonic resonance.
Additionally, the Chinese phoenix, which is said to roost in parasol trees, is associated with yin/yang balance as well as cosmic harmony.
Planets: Sun and Moon