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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 13 | Araliaceae | Tetrapanax

1. Tetrapanax papyrifer (Hooker) K. Koch, Wochenschr. Gärtnerei Pflanzenk. 2: 371. 1859.

通脱木 tong tuo mu

Aralia papyrifera Hooker, Hooker’s J. Bot. Kew Gard. Misc. 4: 50. 1852; A. mairei H. Léveillé; Fatsia papyrifera (Hooker) Miquel ex Witte.

Shrubs or small trees, to 3.5 m tall, densely ferruginous or pale brown stellate tomentose. Trunk to 9 cm in diam.; pith homogeneous, white, large. Petiole terete, to 50 cm, glabrous; leaf blade ovate-oblong, 50-75 cm wide, papery or subleathery, abaxially densely ferruginous or stellate tomentose, adaxially glabrous, 7-12-lobed, base obtuse to cordate, margin entire to coarsely serrate, apex acuminate. Inflorescence terminal, peduncles 1-1.5 cm; umbels 1-2 cm in diam., many flowered. Flowers yellowish white. Calyx ca. 1 mm, densely stellate tomentose. Corolla petals 4(or 5), ca. 2 mm, densely stellate tomentose. Stamens 4(or 5); filaments ca. 3 mm. Fruit dark purple at maturity, globose, ca. 4 mm in diam. Fl. Oct-Dec, fr. Jan-Feb. 2n = 48*.

● Mixed thickets; 100-2800 m. Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, SW Sichuan, Taiwan, NW Yunnan, Zhejiang.

This species is widely cultivated in China for the traditional medicine "tong cao" and as an ornamental elsewhere in the tropics. The stem pith cut into sections is used as a paper ("rice paper").

Frodin and Govaerts (World Checklist Bibliogr. Araliaceae, 400. 2004 ["2003"]) indicated that Tetrapanax papyrifer is probably native to Taiwan and introduced in S China.


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