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Chinese Plant Names | Family List | Araliaceae | Tetrapanax

Tetrapanax papyrifer (Hook.) K. Koch


Description from Flora of China

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*.

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.

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


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