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Products > Tetrapanax papyrifer
Tetrapanax papyrifer - Rice Paper Plant
Image of Tetrapanax papyrifer
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Araliaceae (Ginsengs)
Origin: Taiwan (Asia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Creamy White
Bloomtime: Winter
Synonyms: [T. papyriferus, Fatsia papyrifera, Aralia]
Height: 10-16 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Seaside: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Tetrapanax papyrifer (Rice Paper Plant) - A tall evergreen shrub often with a leaning trunk that grows 10-15 feet tall. The deeply-lobed leaves cluster at the top of the trunk on long petioles. The leaves are a gray green color and smooth above but the underside is covered with white, fine hairs which can be an irritant to eyes or skin. Winter-blooming creamy white flowers form large clusters. Plant in sun or shade in nearly any soil and water occasionally to regularly. Hardy at least to 18 F and in colder climates it can be frozen to the ground and sucker back up to regenerate rapidly. It is tolerant of salt laden winds and sandy soil so is useful in gardens near the ocean. It can travel around the garden, often popping up many feet from the existing plant but is not terribly pesty and it easy to remove when small. We have noted that it is fairly sensitive to Oak Root fungus Armillaria but often new shoots pop up just as older plants succumb. This interesting plant can lend a tropical flavor to the garden. It is endemic to Taiwan, but has been widely cultivated in many parts of the world in tropical, subtropical and mediterranean climate regions. Often listed as Tetrapanax papyriferus, the species is also spelled variously as "papyriferum" and "papyrifer", which The Plant List notes as being currently correct. The name for the genus is from the Greek word 'tetra' meaning "four" and 'panax' a related Araliaceae genus name in reference to the flowers being in fours and its resemblance to genus Panax. The species was once included in the genus Fatsia as Fatsia papyrifera and Aralia as Aralia papyrifer. The specific epithet, from a reference to the Egyptian Papyrus has to do with the pith of the center of the stem being used to make a substance commonly known as rice paper, but more properly is pith paper. We have grown this plant in our nursery since 1982.  The information that is presented on this page is based on research we have conducted about this plant in our library and from reliable online sources. We also consider observations we have made of it in the nursery's garden and in other gardens we have visited, as well how it performs in our nursery crops out in the field. We incorporate comments that we receive from others as well and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if they know of cultural information that would aid others in growing  Tetrapanax papyrifer.