Kalopanax septemlobus
Common Name: castor aralia
Type: Tree
Family: Araliaceae
Native Range: China, Japan, Korea, Russia
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 40.00 to 60.00 feet
Spread: 40.00 to 60.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy
Other: Thorns

Culture

Easily grown in deep, moist, fertile, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade. Generally intolerant of the hot and humid summers in the deep South. Avoid dry soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Kalopanax septemlobus, commonly called castor aralia or tree aralia, is the only large tree found in the aralia family. Its large leaves are reminiscent of castor bean. This deciduous tree typically grows to 40-60’ tall with an upright oval habit. In its native habitat, it occurs in cool, moist forest areas and may reach 90-100’ tall. Palmate, toothed, glossy, dark green leaves (7-14” wide) have 5-7 lobes (septemlobus meaning 7 lobes). Leaves turn dull yellow to red in fall, but are not particularly showy. Trunk, branches and particularly the younger stems are armed with spines. Spines tend to disappear from the trunk and larger branches as the tree matures. Tiny white flowers appear profusely in large, terminal, umbel-like panicles (12-24” wide) in late summer. Tiny black fruits in compound clusters ripen in fall. Fruits are attractive to birds. Dark gray bark is ridged and furrowed. Synonymous with Kalopanax pictus.

Genus name comes from the Greek word kalos meaning beautiful and Panax the name of a related genus.

Specific epithet means have 7 lobes.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Thorns on branches.

Garden Uses

Landscape specimen. Shade tree.