Japanese fern tree 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. It has a dense, rounded crown and straight trunk. The bark is brownish, regularly flakey, peeling to reveal pinkish inner bark. Leaves are dark green, compound, pinnate, with 6 - 8 pairs of leaflets, opposite or subopposite, 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. 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. Male and female flowers on separate plants. Fruits are ovoid, shiny, 1/2 inch in diameter with a single seed, used for propagation. This tree is tolerant of most well-drained soils. It has wide applications in landscaping, as a garden specimen tree, small shade tree for deck or patio, backdrop for a flowerbed, or accent tree. Fruit litter is a problem if planted near a sidewalk or driveway.