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Tetrapanax papyrifer

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Aralia mairei
  • Aralia papyrifera
  • Didymopanax papyriferus
  • Echinopanax papyriferus
  • Fatsia papyrifera
  • Panax papyrifer
Description

Rice Paper Plant is a showy, sub-tropical, evergreen large shrub or small tree native to Taiwan that is used as an ornamental shrub in Asia. It is frost sensitive above USDA plant zone 8b, but will re-emerge in spring. In warmer zones, it will remain evergreen year-round.

It makes a lush exotic background for borders and screening. The smaller cultivar 'Rex' works well in containers. Many small flowers on a long panicle bloom in fall are followed by small dark fruits. Accepts a wide range of soil conditions, but does spread by underground rhizomes which will need to be cut and removed to limit this plant's spread.

Problems: Spreads by suckers, leaves can be damaged by a strong wind, mealy-bugs only known insect problem

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Empress'
    Grows more tree-like with fewer suckers
  • 'Rex'
    Grows 6-10 feet tall and wide
  • 'Steroidal Giant'
    Can grow to 15 feet high and 15 feet wide in warmer zones
'Empress', 'Rex', 'Steroidal Giant'
Tags:
#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#white flowers#shrub#large leaves#winter interest#dappled shade#Asian garden#suckers#evergreen shrub#partial shade tolerant#tropical#coastal plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Empress'
    Grows more tree-like with fewer suckers
  • 'Rex'
    Grows 6-10 feet tall and wide
  • 'Steroidal Giant'
    Can grow to 15 feet high and 15 feet wide in warmer zones
'Empress', 'Rex', 'Steroidal Giant'
Tags:
#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#white flowers#shrub#large leaves#winter interest#dappled shade#Asian garden#suckers#evergreen shrub#partial shade tolerant#tropical#coastal plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Tetrapanax
    Species:
    papyrifer
    Family:
    Araliaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Historically used to make rice paper veneer sheets, artificial paper flowers, and in traditional Chinese pharmacology for the medicine "tong cao".
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & S. China, Taiwan
    Wildlife Value:
    Pollen plant for bees
    Edibility:
    Stems are used to make rice paper. Rice paper can be used to wrap foods and can be eaten with the food.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 12 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Round drupe
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Flower Shape:
    Saucer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Many creamy yellow-white flowers are borne on large, loose panicles up to 3 feet long
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Palmasect
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    10-15 inches wide gray-green showy lobed leaves with hairs on the undersides and serrated margins. Leaves have 5-14 lobes. The deeply-lobed leaves cluster at the top of the trunk on long petioles.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Pith (Split Longitudinally):
    Continuous homogeneous
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Attracts:
    Bees