Japanese Aralia – Fatsia japonica
Family Araliaceae – Ivy or Ginseng Family
The Araliaceae comprise about 70 genera and 700 species of flowering shrubs, trees, climbing vines and herbs. The fruit is a berry or (rarely) a drupe (one-seeded fruit).
Japanese aralia does best in a partially shaded to fully shaded, protected site. Hardy to USDA 8-10. Prefers slightly acid soil, rich in organic materials. Plants needs to be carefully mulched to protect the roots from freezing.
Japanese aralia grows to 12 feet with similar spread; heavy leaves may cause this plant to lean, requiring external support. Originally introduced to Europe in 1838, Fatsia offers a tropical look to a temperate garden. 
Also see: Castor-Aralia – Kalopanax pictus
1. Japanese Aralia – Fatsia japonica, photographed at Atlanta Botanical Garden by Bruce Marlin
2. Floridata, “Fatsia japonica”
3. Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson, USDA Forest Service ST-335, “Kalopanax pictus“
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