This section is from the book "The Gardener V3", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
Of this beautiful genus this is as yet the only species known to botanists. It is found abundantly not only wild, but in cultivation as an ornamental and timber tree - in many provinces in China and Japan forming a handsome deciduous tree of from 80 to 100 feet in height.
It has been cultivated in British gardens since 1754, and large handsome examples of it are to be found all over the country. Its habit of growth is erect and bushy, with a conical-shaped head; the branches are somewhat irregularly disposed on the stem, horizontal, and much divided into short branchlets; the leaves, which are produced in great profusion, are about 1 1/2 inch broad, fan or wedge shaped, and have the appearance of the pinnules of a large Adiantum Fern. They are on both sides of a pale-green colour.
It is scarcely necessary to say that this is one of the hardiest of ornamental trees, of free growth in almost every district and in almost every variety of soil, and few are more ornamental. The singular beauty of its curiously-formed leaves, and its picturesque aspect at all stages of its growth, commends it to all who have a taste either for landscape effects or for elegance of form in foliage.