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Products > Trevesia palmata
Trevesia palmata - Snowflake Aralia
Image of Trevesia palmata
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Araliaceae (Ginsengs)
Origin: Viet Nam (Asia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 15-20 feet
Width: 8-12 feet
Exposure: Light Shade/Part Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Trevesia palmata (Snowflake Aralia) - An evergreen tree to 15-20 feet tall with few or no side branches and topped with a crown of long stalked 1-2-foot-wide leaves that are deeply lobed with each lobe deeply cut, giving the leaf a lacy snowflake look. It is sparsely branched with white pubescent stems and a loose broad canopy of oddly shaped leaves with small yellow flowers that are followed by 1/2-inch fruit in tight ball-like clusters.

Plant in coastal full sun, filtered light or part day sun and irrigate regularly to occasionally. Established plants are surprisingly drought resistant considering this plant's tropical origins but it grows best with at least occasional irrigation. It is cold hardy to 25-30 F.

Trevesia palmata is indigenous to northern India, southern China, Vietnam, and Thailand. In its native habitat this plant can be found growing to 30 feet tall but likely no more than 20 feet in cultivation and more often it is grown as a large shrub. The most attractive aspect of this plant is its 2 to 2 1/2 foot wide, rounded in outline, leaves of a type called pseudocompound, meaning that they look compound but actually are not. The lobes (false leaflets) are attached to a rounded plate-like area at the base of the leaf that attaches to the 2- to 3-foot-long prickly petioles. These lobes themselves are so intricately and deeply lobed themselves that they individually look like pinnately compound leaves.

The genus Trevesia was described by the Italian botanist Roberto de Visiani (1800-1878) in 1840 to honor the family Treves of the Bonfili of Padua, who were great supporters of botanical research. The specific epithet was actually from a name described earlier by the Scottish botanist William Roxburgh (1751-1815) who had described this plant as Gastonia palmata and its specific name transferred with it to Trevesia in 1842 when Visiani segregated Gastonia. This specific epithet is in reference to the leaves being palmately lobed. We also grow the selection Trevesia palmata 'Micholitzii' which has newly emerging leaves that retain white downy hairs then become glossy. Both plants are interesting and attractive in the garden and though tolerate relatively dry conditions, lend a tropical feel. We have grown this plant since 2007 from seed collected from local Santa Barbara plants with most recent collections made from mature plants that we originally supplied to the Eric Nagelmann designed Tropical Garden at Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria. 

This information about Trevesia palmata displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.