Facts about Fatsia

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Fatsia Quick Facts
Name: Fatsia
Scientific Name: Fatsia japonica
Origin Southern Japan, southern Korea and Taiwan
Colors Initially green maturing to shiny black berries
Shapes Sub globose pea-shaped berries that are nearly 5 mm in diameter
Health benefits Support for diabetes, gastro enteric disorders (stomach disease), arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, cough, osteoarthritis and rheumatism
Fatsia japonica, commonly called Fatsia, paper plant, Japanese Fatsia or Japanese aralia, is a shade-loving shrub belonging to Araliaceae (Ginseng family). The genus was formerly classified within a broader interpretation of the related genus Aralia. The plant is native to southern Japan, southern Korea and Taiwan. Some of the popular common names of the plant are Fatsia, Japanese Fatsia, Japanese Aralia, Fatsi, Fig-Leaf Palm, Glossy-Leaved Paper Plant, Paperplant, Castor oil plant, Aralia, Glossy-leafed paper plant, false castor oil plant and Formosa rice tree. The name Fatsia comes from an approximation of the Japanese word for ‘eight’ (hachi in modern Romanization), which makes reference to its iconic 8 lobed leaves. In Japan it is known as yatsude 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 inter-generic hybrid × Fatshedera lizei.

Fatsia is a highly popular shrub in the Southeast due to its adaptability and tropical appearance along with good cold tolerance. It will grow throughout South Carolina with the exception of areas in the mountains that occasionally drop to below 10 °F. Fatsia japonica has particularly low maintenance requirements. It’s easy to care for planted in either full sun or part shade, and prefers a somewhat sheltered location. Since it is a useful and lovely shrub, Fatsia japonica has earned a coveted ‘RHS Award of Garden Merit’ and is on the RHS ‘Plants for Pollinators’ list, highlighting plants that produce large amounts of nectar and/or pollen. It is a great choice for encouraging beneficial insect wildlife into your garden!

Fatsia Facts

Name Fatsia
Scientific Name Fatsia japonica
Native Southern Japan and southern Korea
Common Names Fatsia, Japanese Fatsia, Japanese Aralia, Fatsi, Fig-Leaf Palm, Glossy-Leaved Paper Plant, Paperplant, Castor oil plant, Aralia, Glossy-leafed paper plant, false castor oil plant and Formosa rice tree
Name in Other Languages Afrikaans: Fatsia, Vingerplant
Albanian: Fatsia
Amharic: Fatīsīya (ፋቲሲያ)
Arabic: Fatsia (фатсия)
Armenian: Fat’ia (ֆաթիա)
Azerbaijani: Fatsia
Bengali: Fatsia (фатсия)
Bulgarian: Fatsia (Фатсия), yaponska fat·siya (японска фатсия)
Burmese: Fatsia (фатсия)
Catalan: Aràlia del Japó
Cebuano: Aralia
Chinese: Féipàng zhèng (肥胖症), bā jiǎo jīn pán (八角金盘)
Croatian: Fatsia
Czech: Unava
Danish: Fatsia
Dutch: Fatsia, fingerplant, Japanse aralia, Vingerplant    
English: Fatsia, Japanese Fatsia, Fatsi, Glossy-leaf paperplant, Paperplant, Formosa rice tree, Japanese aralia,    fatsi , Glossy-leaved paperplant           
Esperanto: Fatsia
Estonian: Fatsia
Filipino: Fatsia
Finnish: Fatsia, Huonearalia
French: Fatsia, Aralia du Japon, aralia commun, fatsia japonais, faux ricin, ricin japonais, Aralie du Japon                
Georgian: Fatsia (фатсия)
German: Fatsia, Zimmeraralie, japanische Fatsia, japanische Zimmeraralie           
Greek: Lipothymía (λιποθυμία)
Gujarati: Phēṭasiyā (ફેટસિયા)
Hausa: Fatsia
Hebrew: פטציה
Hindi: Fatsia (фатсия)
Hungarian: Fatsia, Japán arália
Icelandic: Fatsíu
Indonesian: Fatsia
Irish: Fatsia
Italian: Fatsia
Japanese: Fatsia (Фатсия), yatsude (ヤツデ)
Javanese: Lemak
Kannada: Phyāṭsiyā (ಫ್ಯಾಟ್ಸಿಯಾ)
Kazakh: Fatsija (фатсия)
Korean: Ttungttunghan (뚱뚱한), palsoninamu, songak, Palson I (팔손이), palson-inamu (팔손이나무)
Kurdish: Fatsia
Lao: Khaiman (ໄຂມັນ)
Latin: Fatsia
Latvian: Fatsia
Lithuanian: Fatsia
Macedonian: Faca (фаца)
Malagasy: Fatsia
Malay: Fatsia
Malayalam: Phāṟṟsiya (ഫാറ്റ്സിയ)
Maltese: Fatsia
Marathi: Phĕṭasiyā (फॅटसिया)
Mongolian: Fatia (фатиа)
Nepali: Phyātsiyā (फ्यात्सिया)
Norwegian: Fatsia, aralia, Japanse, fingerplant
Oriya: ଫ୍ୟାଟିସିଆ
Pashto: فټسیا
Persian: چربی, آرالیای برگ‌پهن
Polish: Fatsia
Portuguese: Fatsia, arália-do-japão, fátsia-do-japão       
Punjabi: Fatsia (фатсия)
Romanian: Fatsia
Russian: Fatsia (Фатсия), Araliia iaponskaia (Аралия японская), Fatsiya yaponskaya (Фатсия японская)
Serbian: Fatsia (фатсиа)
Sindhi: فٽسيا
Sinhala: Fatsia-fatsija
Slovenian: Fatsia
Spanish: Fatsia
Sundanese: Lemakna
Swedish: Fatsia, Aralia
Tajik: Fatsija
Tamil: fatsia-fatsija (fatsia-фатсия)
Telugu: Fatsia (фатсия)
Thai: Fatsia-Fatsija (Fatsia-Фатсия)
Turkish: Fatsia, Fatsiya
Ukrainian: Fat·siya (фатсія)
Urdu: Fatsia
Uzbek: Fatsia
Vietnamese: Mỡ
Welsh: Fatsia, Ffatsia
Zulu: Fatsia
Plant Growth Habit Medium sized, semi-dense broadleaf evergreen shrub or small tree
Growing Climates Forests, mountains, waste areas, abandoned gardens and coastal woodlands
Soil Grows best in moist, well-drained, acidic soil rich in organic matter. Shade or dappled shade is necessary for best foliage appearance. Fatsia will grow well even in deep shade. Despite its preferences fatsia will tolerate sandy or heavy clay soils, moderate drought and air pollution and is moderately tolerant of salt spray
Plant Size Grows 6 to 10 feet tall by 6 to 10 feet wide. Old plants in ideal growing conditions may reach 15 feet tall
Stem Stems very smooth, thick, not much branched, unarmed, marked with large scars left by fallen leaves
Leaf Large, leathery, sub-orbicular varying in size according to the size and vigor of the plant, normally 12-30 cm in diameter, palmately 7-9 deeply lobed, with a broad heart-shaped base.  The lobes reach more than half-way to the base, ovate, coarsely and bluntly toothed except towards the base
Flowering season October to November
Flower Terminal panicle is 20-40 cm long. Inflorescences are 3-5cm in diameter, rachis brownish tomentose; Calyx is sub entire, glabrous. Japanese aralia has 5 petals that are ovate-triangular, 2.5 – 3 mm long, yellow-white and glabrous. It has 5 stamens, filaments equal to petals length.
Fruit Shape & Size Sub globose pea-shaped berries that are nearly 5 mm in diameter.
Fruit Color Initially green maturing to shiny black berries
Propagation By suckers, prolific self-seeding and by semi-hardwood cuttings
Varieties
  • Fatsia japonica ‘Moseri’
  • Fatsia Japonica ‘Spiders Web’
  • Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata’
  • Fatsia japonica ‘Annelise’
  • Fatsia polycarpa ‘Green Fingers’
Season Feb-May
Precautions
  • The sap, which is sticky and resinous, can cause contact dermatitis in sensitive people.
  • Japanese Aralia is poisonous, and can cause immune system poisoning and mental sex poisoning, organ damage sex poisoning.

Plant Description

Fatsia is a medium sized semi-dense broadleaf evergreen shrub or small tree that normally grows about 6 to 10 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide. Old plants in ideal growing conditions may reach 15 feet tall. Fatsia grows at a moderate to fast rate (8 to 12 inches per year) depending on growing conditions. Growth will be slower in full sun and dry soil, and faster in shade with rich, moist soil. The plant is found growing in forests, mountains, waste areas, abandoned gardens and coastal woodlands. The plant grows best in moist, well-drained, acidic soil rich in organic matter. Shade or dappled shade is necessary for best foliage appearance. Fatsia will grow well even in deep shade. Despite its preferences fatsia will tolerate sandy or heavy clay soils, moderate drought and air pollution and is moderately tolerant of salt spray.

Stem

Stems are very smooth, thick, not much branched, unarmed, and marked with large scars left by fallen leaves.

Leaves

Leaves are large, leathery, sub-orbicular varying in size according to the size and vigor of the plant, normally 12-30 cm in diameter, palmately 7-9 deeply lobed, with a broad heart-shaped base.  The lobes reach more than half-way to the base, ovate, coarsely and bluntly toothed except towards the base, where the opening between the lobes is wide and rounded. Upper surface is dark shining green while the lower one is lighter, granular pro-tuberance, both quite glabrous, margin occasionally golden yellow.  Lateral pulse bulges on both sides, reticulate veins slightly prominent below. Petiole is round, stout, smooth, often 1 ft. or more long.

Leaf arrangement Alternate
Leaf type Simple
Leaf margin Serrate
Leaf shape Star-shaped
Leaf venation Palmate
Leaf type and persistence Evergreen
Leaf blade length 8 to 12 inches
Leaf color Green
Fall color No fall color change
Fall characteristic Not showy

 

Flower

Terminal panicle is 20-40 cm long. Inflorescences are 3-5cm in diameter, rachis brownish tomentose; Calyx is sub entire, glabrous. Japanese aralia has 5 petals that are ovate-triangular, 2.5 – 3 mm long, yellow-white and glabrous. It has 5 stamens, filaments equal to petals length. Ovary is inferior, 5-locule, with 1 blastomere in each locule. It has 5 styles, detached; Disk is convex semicircle. They appear in October to November and last for several weeks.

Flower color White
Flower characteristic Fall flowering

 

Fruits

Fertile flowers are followed by sub globose pea-shaped berries that are nearly 5 mm in diameter. These berries are initially green maturing to shiny black berries during early to mid-winter in the Upstate and mid to late winter along the coast. Berries last well on the plants, unless eaten by birds. Hard freezes will eventually cause the berry clusters to collapse.

Fruit shape Round
Fruit length Less than .5 inch
Fruit cover Fleshy
Fruit color Black
Fruit characteristic Attracts birds

 

Fatsia Varieties in the UK

There are a number of different Fatsia forms available to buy in the UK. The most, the standard Fatsia japonica is widely grown and often used in council landscaping due to its tough, reliable nature and visual architectural impact. Listed below are some of the popular varieties grown or available in UK

1. Fatsia japonica ‘Moseri’

It is a more compact form of Fatsia found with ‘Moseri’. It doesn’t grow as tall and is supposedly said to have larger foliage. It is a good alternative for those with less space.

2. Fatsia Japonica ‘Spiders Web’

Fatsia ‘Spiders Web’ is an unusual variegated form where the large lobed leaves are covered in white spidery variegation giving it a mottled appearance. If you have limited space or want something stunning for a pot then Spiders Web is a good option.

3. Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata’

There is a cream variegated version of the standard green Fatsia. Variegata perform very similarly to the green leaved Fatsia except for the variegation which appears randomly but mostly around the edges of the leaf.

Sometimes the cream patterning does not appear, sometimes there is a small amount of cream coloring on the green foliage but it looks most spectacular when large patches of creamy white variegation appear on the leaves.

4. Fatsia japonica ‘Annelise’

The most spectacular looking variegation appears on the form ‘Annelise’ which has cream veined leaves with dark, mid and light green variegated patterning. Again like ‘Spiders Web’ it looks great in a pot and this will also restrict the growth if space is a limiting factor.

5. Fatsia polycarpa ‘Green Fingers’

Not strictly japonica (Japan) but polycarpa (Taiwan) a close relation and very similar in looks. This has more slender lobed foliage and overall more airy and delicate looking giving it a more exotic and tropical appearance.

It is not as hardy as taking lows down to around -5°c to -10°c, possibly hardier than the standard Fatsia polycarpa although not long term proven in the UK.

Traditional uses and benefits of Aralia

  • Fatsia shoots are the jewels of the mountain, and only a little bit is needed to revitalize the body.
  • Fatsia is considered effective to help treat glucosuria (diabetes), gastro enteric disorders (stomach disease), arteriosclerosis, and high blood pressure.
  • It is also considered effective in enhancing kidney function.
  • Fatsia is most commonly used for stress relief, to help clear the mind, and to allow one to sleep deeply.
  • It is known to lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and lipid levels. Fatsia shoots are also rich in calcium.
  • Japanese Aralia can promote blood circulation and remove blood stasis.
  • It reduces phlegm and relieving cough.
  • It removes stasis and relieving pain.
  • They are also are used as a medicinal treatment in Japan and Taiwan to ward off conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatism.

Fatsia uses

Garden use of Japanese Aralia

Fatsia is evergreen with large leaves, a beautiful leaf shape, dark green light, is a popular indoor foliage plant. Adapt to indoor weak light environment, for hotels, restaurants, office buildings and family beautification commonly used plant materials. It is used to decorate the hall, window sill, corridor, poolside, or as the substrate of the indoor Flower bed. The leaf is also a good match for flower arrangement. In the south of the Yangtze River basin, it can be used in the open field and should be planted in the garden, corner and shady part of the building. Japanese Aralia also can adorn in the stream, pool or group under the forest, the grass side. It is an excellent foliage plant. It also can be potted for indoor ornamental.

Absorption of harmful gases

Fatsia can absorb harmful gases such as carbon dioxide in the air and purify the air. In the house that modern lives, a lot of people often door window is closed, let the air in the home and the air outside be ventilated rarely, the harmful gas that the human body inside the home exhales is discharged to wait a moment outside the house. And when these harmful gases are accumulated to a certain amount in the room, the indoor air will become more and more turbid. Additionally, the air quality in cities is getting worse and worse. Fatsia is planted at home; it can absorb some harmful gases such as carbon dioxide, purify the air and make the owner’s life more comfortable.

Green indoor environment

Fatsia is an ornamental plant that is evergreen all year round and produces elegant flowers. Growing a Japanese Aralia indoors is a good way to make your environment green. There is no need to spend a lot of effort inbreeding, it will be kept in the courtyard, door, window, wall corner and the shade of the building can be, the owner can also appreciate its green appearance at any time.

Other Facts

  • It was favored in the UK by the Victorians and Edwardians due to its fine architectural qualities!
  • Fatsia grows at a moderate to fast rate (8 to 12 inches per year) depending on growing conditions.
  • The Royal Horticultural Society has given it the Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
  • Many cultivars are used as ornamentals.
  • In folklore, the Fatsia japonica’s large eight-pointed finger-shaped leaves are believed to deflect devils that would enter on the north side of a home.

Precautions

  • The sap, which is sticky and resinous, can cause contact dermatitis in sensitive people.
  • Fatsia is poisonous, and can cause immune system poisoning and mental sex poisoning, organ damage sex poisoning.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=505935#null

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-84268

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatsia_japonica

https://treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/fatsia/fatsia-japonica/

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/FATJA

https://apg.pir.sa.gov.au/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=102545

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/23918

https://plants.usda.gov/home/plantProfile?symbol=FAJA

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