Etymology: "aralia" comes from the French Canadian name " Aralie ". Other names: stick of the devil, cudgel of the devil, Prickly, angelic Angelica in tree, Angelica of Japan. Origin:Aralia elata is Japanese. Habitat: river banks, humid woods. Sun - partial shade. Hardiness: zone 7 (it supports cold until -17 °C or 1 °F). Height: 10 m tall. Shape: widely spread. Trunk: the young plant of Aralia elata has an unique trunk, which can divide with age. Bark: grey, in small flakes, prickly. Shrill thorns on stems.
Very big leaves alternate, compound (twice-pinnate), of about one metre in length, with small thorns (distinctives) on the petiole (or leafstalk). Flowers bisexuals appear in autumn. They are small, of colour greenish white, divided in umbels carried by a main axis, and raised at the top of stems. Fruits are small, blackish, on the peduncle of the flower. Utility: the aralia is an ornamental tree, due to its small size. Its thorns make it unattractive, however, in parks frequented by children. Berries and bark contain a principle stimulant used in medicine. The bark is used in herbal medicine (tincture) in treatment for rheumatism, syphilis and skin problems..
Japanese Aralia or Fatsia japonica is a shrub of Japanese origin. It blooms earlier than Aralia elata. The name "Fatsia" is an approximation of the old Japanese word for "eight" (Hachi in modern Japanese), referring to the eight lobes of the leaf.
Hardiness: zone 7 (it supports cold until -17 °C or 1 °F). Height: 4 m tall. Shape: widely spread. Trunk: the young plant of Japanese Aralia has an unique trunk, which can divide with age. Leaves alternate, wide, of 50 cm in length. The petiole (or leafstalk) is 25 cm long and smooth. The leaf has a tropical look. Flowers bisexuals appear in July-August. They are small, of whitish colour. Put together in umbels, they form large feathery panicles. Fruits are small, blackish, on the peduncle of the flower.