T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Trochodendron aralioides (Wheel tree)

Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Trochodendrales
Family: Trochodendraceae
Genus: Trochodendron
Species: T. aralioides
Binomial name: Trochodendron aralioides
Common name: Wheel tree

Trochodendron aralioidessole living species in the genus Trochodendron. It is native to Japan, southern Korea and Taiwan.
It is an evergreen tree or large shrub growing to 20 m tall. The dark green, glossy, leathery leaves are borne on long stalks in tight spirals at the apex of the years' growth. The leaves are simple, broad, lanceolate, 6-14 cm long and 3-8 cm broad, with a crenate margin.
In late spring and early summer flowers are produced 10-20 together in a racemose cyme 5-13 cm diameter; each flower is 15-18 mm diameter, yellowish green, without petals, but with a conspicuous ring of 40-70 stamens surrounding the 4-11 carpels. The fruit is 2 cm diameter, woody, star-shaped, composed of 4-11 follicles, each follicle containing several seeds.
Trochodendron aralioides has an unusual feature in angiosperms that is it lacks vessel elements in its wood.  

Photographed at Christchurch Botanical Gardens.


Underside of a leaf.

The fruit capsules just after flowering.