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Botanical Name : Kalopanax septemlobus
Synonyms: K. pictus. (Thunb.)Nakai. K. ricinifolium. Acanthopanax ricinifolium. Acer pictum. Acer septemlobus
Common Names:Tree Aralia, Castor aralia, Prickly castor oil tree
Habitat :Kalopanax septemlobus is native to E. Asia – China, Japan. It grows in cool deciduous forests from near sea level to elevations of 2500 metres.
Kalopanax septemlobus is a deciduous Tree growing to 25 m (82ft 0in) at a slow rate with a trunk up to 1–1.5 metres (3.3–4.9 ft) diameter. The stems are often spiny, with stout spines up to 1 centimetre (0.39 in) long. The leaves are alternate, in appearance similar to a large Fatsia or Liquidambar (sweetgum) leaf, 15–35 centimetres (5.9–13.8 in) across, palmately lobed with five or seven lobes, each lobe with a finely toothed margin.
The leaf lobes vary greatly in shape, from shallow lobes to cut nearly to the leaf base. Trees with deeply lobed leaves were formerly distinguished as K. septemlobus var. maximowiczii, but the variation is continuous and not correlated with geography, so it is no longer regarded as distinct.
The flowers are produced in late summer in large umbels 20–50 centimetres (7.9–19.7 in) across at the apex of a stem, each flower with 4-5 small white petals. The fruit is a small black drupe containing 2 seeds.
It is in flower from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Requires a deep fertile moisture-retentive soil in sun or part shade. Young shoots, especially on young plants, can die back over winter if they are not fully ripened. Young plants are slow-growing. The tree is widely cultivated for timber in China. A polymorphic species.
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed probably requires a period of cold stratification and should be sown as soon as possible. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings in late winter
Edible Uses: Young leaves and young shoots – cooked.
Antifungal; Expectorant; Hepatic; Skin; Stomachic.
The bark contains a range of bio-active constituents, including saponins, flavonoids and lignans. It has antifungal and liver protecting properties. It is used in Korea in the treatment of contusions, beri-beri, lumbago, neuralgia and pleurisy. An infusion of the leaves is used to make a stomachic tea. The root is expectorant. A decoction of the wood is used for skin diseases.
Other Uses: The tree is cultivated as an ornamental tree for the “tropical” appearance of its large palmate leaves in Europe and North America; despite its tropical looks, it is very hardy, tolerating temperatures down to at least ?40 °C (?40 °F) The bark and the leaves are used as an insecticide. Wood is very useful.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.