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Fatsia japonica

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Fatsia japonica, also glossy-leaf paper plant,<ref name=":0">Template:Cite book</ref> fatsi, paperplant, false castor oil plant,<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> or Japanese aralia, is a species of flowering plant in the family Araliaceae, native to southern Japan, southern Korea, and Taiwan.


The name fatsi is an approximation of the Japanese word for 'eight' (hachi in modern romanization), referring to the eight leaf lobes. In Japan it is known as Template:Nihongo, meaning "eight fingers". The name "Japanese aralia" is due to the genus being classified in the related genus Aralia in the past. It has been interbred with Hedera helix (common ivy) to produce the intergeneric hybrid × Fatshedera lizei.


It is an evergreen shrub growing to Template:Convert tall, with stout, sparsely branched stems. The leaves are spirally-arranged, large, Template:Convert in width and on a petiole up to Template:Convert 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. The flowers are small, white, borne in dense terminal compound umbels in late autumn or early winter, followed by small black fruit in spring.


It is commonly grown as an ornamental plant in warm temperate regions where winters do not fall below about -15 °C (5 °F).<ref name="JASHS2008">Template:Cite journal</ref> F. japonica thrives in semi-shade to full-shade and is winter hardy in USDA Zones 8-10.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> It can be grown as an indoor plant and has been shown to effectively remove gaseous formaldehyde from indoor air. <ref name="JASHS2008" />

This plant<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and its cultivar F. japonica 'Variegata'<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

An ornamental plant, F. japonica 'Spider's Web' (or 'Spider White') is a rare cultivar with variegated leaves. Slower growing than the original species, it reaches a lower maximum height of Template:Convert at maturity. The dark-green leaves are strongly white-flecked, particularly at the edges, though the white variegation may occasionally disperse across the whole leaf. The variegation may change with the seasons and as the plant ages. Terminal clumps of white flowers emerge in autumn, which are followed by black berries.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>


While grown as a landscaping plant, it has also become naturalised in some areas. In New Zealand it has become established in waste areas and abandoned gardens, spreading via suckers.


The sap, which is sticky and resinous, can cause contact dermatitis in sensitive people.



Further reading

  • Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan.
  • Fatsia japonica, BBC Gardening
  • Poplay, I. et al. (2010). An illustrated Guide to Common Weeds Of New Zealand. 3rd ed. Pg. 36