Trochodendron aralioides

Common Name: wheel tree 
Type: Tree
Family: Trochodendraceae
Native Range: Japan, Korea, Taiwan
Zone: 6 to 7
Height: 10.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: Yellow-green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Wet Soil


Best grown in moist, fertile, well-drained loams in part shade. Tolerates close to full shade. Needs consistent moisture and tolerates wet soils, but is intolerant of drought. Tolerates full sun, but best growth occurs in dappled shade conditions. Plant in locations protected from strong winds. Best in USDA Zones 6-7 (possibly 8). Propagate by cuttings or seed (best results may come from cuttings).

Noteworthy Characteristics

Trochodendron aralioides, commonly called wheel tree, is a slow-growing, broadleaf evergreen tree or large shrub that is native to mountain forests in Japan, Taiwan and Korea. It is rare in the wild in its native habitat where it will typically mature, in single or multi-trunked form, to a substantial tree rising to as much as 60' tall. In cultivation in the U.S., it typically grows in a large shrubby form with somewhat horizontal branching to 10-20' tall. Leathery, broad ovate to elliptic, evergreen leaves (to 6" long and 2 3/4" wide) with serrated margins are shiny dark green above and pale green beneath. Leaves grow mostly in clusters near the branch tips. Apetalous, apple green to yellow green flowers (to 3/4" diameter) bloom in erect racemes to 5" long (10-20 flowers per raceme) in mid to late spring (April-June). Flowers are followed by pale green seed capsules.

Genus name comes from the Greek words trochos meaning a wheel and dendron meaning a tree in reference to the spreading stamens.

Specific epithet comes from oides meaning resembling and Aralia a tree genus in probably reference to the flowers and growing habit of this plant resembling Aralia.


No known serious insect or disease problems.


Rare plant that is very difficult to purchase in commerce in the U.S. Perhaps best grown for specimen value.