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


Fatsia japonica( Japanese aralia)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Fatsia
Species: F. japonica
Binomial name: Fatsia japonica
Synonym: Aralia japonica, Aralia sieboldii
Common name: Fatsia, Japanese aralia, Glossy-leaved paper plant, Rice paper plant, Yatsude

Fatsia japonica is a species of flowering plant in the family Araliaceae, native to southern Japan and South Korea. This plant is now fully naturalised in New Zealand and it is now classed as a weed species.
In New Zealand it has become established on banks, coastal areas, roadsides, sheltered shrubland, waste areas and abandoned gardens, spreading via suckers. 
It is an evergreen shrub growing to 3–6 m tall, with stout, sparsely branched stems. The leaves are spirally-arranged, large, 20–50 cm in width and on a petiole up to 60 cm long, leathery, palmately lobed, with 7–9 broad lobes, divided to half or two-thirds of the way to the base of the leaf; the lobes are edged with coarse, blunt teeth but sometimes entire. 
The flowers which are numerous, small with white petals (2.5-3 mm long) are borne in dense terminal compound umbels in March to May; these are followed by small, black, rounded berries 5-8 mm wide.
It has a sticky resinous sap which can cause contact dermatitis in sensitive people.
The name "fatsi" is an approximation of the old Japanese word for 'eight' (hachi in modern Japanese), referring to the eight lobes. In Japan it is known as yatsude, meaning "eight fingers".

 

 

Underside of a leaf.
 

The flowering terminal compound umbels (an inflorescence which consists of a number of short flower stalks).
 

The flower buds.


The flowers.
 

The fruits.