Mallotus japonicus
Common Name: mallotus 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Native Range: Japan, China, Korea
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 12.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 12.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: Yellow-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10. Easily grown in average, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Propagate by seed or cuttings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Mallotus japonicus, commonly known as food wrapper plant, is a deciduous shrub or short tree of the spurge family that typically grows to 12-15’ (less frequently to 20’) tall in open woodland areas, woodland margins and valleys in China, Taiwan and Japan. Large, alternate, catalpa-like, minutely hairy, deeply-veined green leaves (to 6-10” long by 4-6” wide) are broad-ovate to deltoid and occasionally two-lobed. Young leaves and shoots emerge with red before maturing. Plants are dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants). Small, apetalous, generally inconspicuous, creamy yellowish-white flowers appear in densely hairy terminal pyramidal flower spikes to 4-8” long. Males have numerous stamens (70-100). Females have three or four styles. Flowers bloom April-June. Fruits are three-celled capsules which ripen in July-August.

Synonymous with and formerly known as Croton japonicus.

Genus name is from the Greek word mallotos meaning wooly in reference to the hairy leaves, shoots and spiny fruits found on some genus plants.

Specific epithet is in reference to the plant in part being native to Japan.

Common name is in reference to a one-time use of the large plant leaves for wrapping food.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Ornamental shrub that is primarily grown for appreciation of its attractive foliage.