Plant DetailShow Menu

Tree aralia Kalopanax pictus

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Acer pictum
  • Kalopanax septemlobus
Phonetic Spelling
kal-OH-pan-aks PIK-tus
Description

Castor aralia is a large, flowering tree, reaching 60 feet in height and is the only large tree in the ginseng family. In its native eastern Asia, this massive tree can reach 90 to 100 feet tall, is long lived and hardy, and uses its large leaves to cast a dense shade. The leaves are similar to castor beans, hence the common name. Tiny, 1 inch white flowers in dense 1 to 2 foot wide panicles appear in late summer. Fruits are attractive to birds. The genus name comes from the Greek word kalos meaning beautiful and Panax the name of a related genus. The species name means having 7 lobes, a characteristic of the leaves..

Castor aralia does best in deep, moist, fertile, well-drained soils in full sun. It will tolerate light shade and drought, but is generally intolerant of hot and humid summers like those found in the deep South. It will not do well in dry soils.

The trunk, branches and the younger stems are armed with spines that tend to disappear from the trunk and larger branches as the tree matures. It has been grown in Europe and the United States as a "tropical" ornamental. It is cold hardy and can be cut back hard each year to control growth.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

No known insect or disease problems. Thorns on branches may be a problem.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#thorns#deciduous#shade tree#drought tolerant#large tree#large leaves#spines#heat intolerant#humidity intolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#thorns#deciduous#shade tree#drought tolerant#large tree#large leaves#spines#heat intolerant#humidity intolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Kalopanax
    Species:
    pictus
    Family:
    Araliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    East Asia: Japan, Central China, Tibet, Mongolia, Korea
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds eat the fruit. Flowers attract pollinators.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Broad
    Erect
    Oval
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Spines
    Thorns
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Tiny black fruits in compound clusters ripen in fall.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Tiny white flowers appear profusely in large, terminal, umbel-like panicles (12 to 24 inches wide) in late summer.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Palmatifid
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are from 7 to 12 inches long and wide with 5-7 lobes and range from reddish to yellow. Palmate, toothed, and glossy, the leaves turn dull yellow to red in fall, but are not particularly showy.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Bark Description:
    Dark gray bark is ridged and furrowed.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Problems:
    Spines/Thorns