Facts about Japanese Angelica Tree

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Japanese angelica tree Quick Facts
Name: Japanese angelica tree
Scientific Name: Aralia elata
Origin Eastern Russia, China, Korea, Japan and northern Asia
Colors Initially green turning to purple to black as they mature
Shapes Clusters of small, fleshy, globose to subglobose drupes (4 mm in diameter)
Health benefits Support for rheumatoid arthralgia, coughs, diabetes, jaundice, stomach ulcers, stomach cancers, chronic fatigue, depression, diabetes, stress and anxiety
Aralia elata, commonly known as Japanese angelica tree, Chinese angelica-tree, or Korean angelica-tree, is an upright deciduous plant belonging to the Araliaceae (Ginseng family). It is known as tara-no-ki (タラノキ; 楤木) in Japanese, and dureup-namu (두릅나무) in Korean. The plant is native to eastern Russia, China, Korea, Japan and northern Asia. Some of the popular common names of the plant include Japanese angelica-tree, Japanese aralia, Dureumnamu, Dureupnamu, Turup, Turupnamu, Hercules-club, Chinese angelica-tree, Korean angelica-tree and Oni’s Walking Stick. Genus name comes from the Latinization of the old French-Canadian name of aralie. Specific epithet comes from the Latin word meaning elevated. The plant is very similar in appearance to U.S. native Aralia spinosa, except this Asian species may grow taller, has more pubescence on leaf undersides and has better winter hardiness.

Japanese Angelic Tree Facts

Name Japanese angelica tree
Scientific Name Aralia elata
Native Eastern Russia, China, Korea, Japan and northern Asia
Common Names Japanese angelica-tree, Japanese aralia, Dureumnamu, Dureupnamu, Turup, Turupnamu, Hercules-club, Chinese angelica-tree, Korean angelica-tree, Oni’s Walking Stick
Name in Other Languages Arabic: Aralia ealia (أراليا عالية)
Armenian: Aralia manjurakan (Արալիա մանջուրական)
Azerbaijani: Hündür araliya
Bulgarian: Visoka araliya (висока аралия)
Chinese:  Cong mu (楤木),   Liao dong mu hu mu (辽东木忽木 ),  Liao dong song mu (辽 东楤木)
Czech: Arálie vysoká      
Danish: Fandens spadserestok, Havearalie, Have-aralie,  Manchurisk Aralie
Dutch: Duivelswandelstok, engelenboom
English: Japanese angelica-tree, Japanese aralia, Chinese angelica-tree, Oni’s Walking Stick, Hercules’ club
Estonian: Kuradipuu
Finnish: Piikkiaralia, pirunkeppi
French: Angélique en arbre du Japon, angélique de Chine, angélique du Japon, aralie japonaise, arbre angélique du Japon, L’Angélique du Japon, Aralie élevée
German: Japanische Aralie, Japanischer Angelicabaum, Stachelaralie, Teufelskrückstock, Die Japanische Aralie, Hohe Aralie
Hungarian: Mandzsu arália         
Italian: Aralia elevate, angelica del Giappone
Japanese: Tara no ki (タラノキ), Japanischer Angelikabaum, Tara (タラ)
Korean: Deu-reum-na-mu (드릅나무),   Du reup na mu, Dureup, Turup
Norwegian: Høstaralia
Polish: Aralia wysoka, Aralia mandżurska, aralia japońska, dzięglawa japońska
Portuguese: Arbol-de-angélica-japonesa
Russian:  Araliya man’chzhurskaya (Аралия манчжурская), Araliia vysokaia (Аралия высокая)
Slovene: Mandžurska aralija
Spanish: Arbol de angelica, Mandžurska aralija
Swedish: Parkaralia, Kinesisk parkaralia
Welsh: Aralia Japan, Araliâu Japan
Western Frisian: Duvelswannelstôk
Plant Growth Habit Stunning, exotic-looking, upright deciduous, multi-stemmed, ornamental shrub or small tree
Growing Climates Thin disturbed woodland, thickets, old fields, hedgerows, forest, forest margins, shrub land, meadow, scrub fields, roadsides, hillside, stream sides, ravines, secondary forest and occasionally along open, sunny streams and rivers
Soil Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It prefers moist, fertile, humusy loams, but tolerates a wide range of soils including rocky and clayey ones
Plant Size 20 to 40 feet and a width of 15 to 30 feet
Root Plants form shallow roots
Stem Coarse, thick stems have sharp prickles and prominent large leaf scars. The stems are covered in spines
Bark Bark is grey and has a thorny surface
Leaf Large, dark green, alternate leaves 70-125 cm long, 50-90 cm wide, with 3-5 pinnae and are bi- or tri-pinnately compound. Leaves are pubescent beneath, with veins running to the ends of the serrations. Petioles are pubescent or becoming nearly glabrescent, unarmed and greenish
Flowering season Late summer (July through August)
Flower Flowers are greenish white colored. Sepals are minute, triangular to round. Petals are ovate, 1.8-2.2 mm long. Filaments are 2-2.5 mm long; anthers are yellowish white, oblong, 0.7-1.2 mm long. Ovary is 5-locular; styles distinct. Floral disc is projected
Fruit Shape & Size Clusters of small, fleshy, globose to subglobose drupes (4 mm in diameter)
Fruit Color Initially green turning to purple to black as they mature
Propagation By seed when ripe or root cuttings and suckers
Plant Parts Used Roots, bark and flowers
Season Appearing August to September and ripening from September to October
Other Facts
  • It is loved by people in East Asia due to its rich taste as a wild vegetable.

Plant Description

Japanese angelica tree is a stunning, exotic-looking, upright, deciduous, multi-stemmed, ornamental shrub or small tree. The plant can be found in the wild, in eastern Asia, where it usually grows much larger, up to 20 to 40 feet tall and 15 to 30 feet wide, than is usually observed in home gardens where it more typically grows up to 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide. It is capable of growing at a rate of two feet in a single season. It has a spreading habit and can be multi or single stemmed. The plants form shallow roots. Coarse, thick stems have sharp prickles and prominent large leaf scars. The stems are covered in spines. Bark is grey and has a thorny surface. The plant is found growing in thin disturbed woodland, thickets, old fields, hedgerows, forest, forest margins, shrub land, meadow, scrub fields, roadsides, hillside, stream sides, ravines, secondary forest and occasionally along open, sunny streams and rivers. The plant easily grows in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It prefers moist, fertile, humus loams, but tolerates a wide range of soils including rocky and clayey ones. It can also tolerate drought. It can generally tolerate many urban pollutants.

Leaves

Large, dark green, alternate leaves 70-125 cm long, 50-90 cm wide, with 3-5 pinnae and are bi- or tri-pinnately compound. Leaves are pubescent beneath, with veins running to the ends of the serrations. Petioles are pubescent or becoming nearly glabrescent, unarmed and greenish.  Leaves are arranged alternately and one leaf may contain as many 80+ ovate to elliptic leaflets (each to 3-4″ long). Leaflets are medium to dark green, ovate to broadly ovate, sometimes narrowly ovate to lanceolate, chartaceous, 6-15 cm long and 3.5-8.5 cm wide, acute to acuminate at apex, rounded to obtuse, occasionally sub cordate at base, serrulate to serrate, lateral veins 7-9 pairs, adaxial surfaces green, slightly rugose, sometimes scabrid, abaxial surfaces glaucous or brownish glaucous, pubescent to densely pubescent, sometimes pilose, pilose on veins, or glabrous, petiolules 0-6 mm long. In fall, leaves turn pale yellow to reddish purple and may drop early in season.

Flower

Small, 5-petaled, white flowers (to 1/8” across) bloom in large, terminal, umbellose panicles (25-55 cm long, 35-80 cm wide) in late summer (July through August). Floral buds are yellowish green. Flowers are quite showy and very attractive to bees. Flowers are greenish white colored. Sepals are minute, triangular to round. Petals are ovate, 1.8-2.2 mm long. Filaments are 2-2.5 mm long; anthers are yellowish white, oblong, 0.7-1.2 mm long. Ovary is 5-locular; styles distinct. Floral disc is projected. These flowers are wider than they are tall, radiate from separate stems within a cluster and lack a central axis. 

Fruits

Fertile flowers are followed by clusters of small, fleshy, globose to subglobose drupes (4 mm in diameter) that ripen from late summer into fall. Fruits are initially green turning to purple to black colored berries. Fruits start appearing from August to September and ripening from September to October. Drupes are quite attractive to birds and distributed by wildlife. This invasive plant also suckers from its base and spreads.

Traditional uses and benefits of Japanese Angelica Tree

  • The roots and stems are anodyne and carminative.
  • All parts of the plant are used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthralgia, coughs, diabetes, jaundice, stomach ulcers and stomach cancers.
  • It is a natural remedy for a number of mental and emotional conditions as it helps work on the nervous system.
  • Aralia extracts and herbal teas can help address issues like chronic fatigue, depression, stress and anxiety.
  • Aralia can also help boost mood, memory and overall vitality.
  • It’s also used to alleviate headaches and to ease liver and urinary tract disease symptoms.
  • Plant is used in traditional Chinese and Korean medicine for the treatment of several diseases, including diabetes.
  • It is used in the treatment of diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis in traditional folk medicine in East Asia.
  • The root, and especially the bark, stimulates the central nervous system.
  • The plant is said to restore the appetite, memory, vigor etc.

Culinary Uses

  • Young shoots can be consumed after cooked.
  • They can also be blanched and used in salads.
  • The young shoots of Aralia elata are a popular wild food in Japan where the tree is known as Taranoki and the shoots as Taranome.
  • In Japan, the shoots are called tara-no-me and are eaten in the spring.
  • They are picked from the end of the branches and are fried in a tempura batter.

Management Methods 

Biological Control

There are currently no biological control agents in use against this species.

Manual or Mechanical Control

Pulling / Digging Up

Hand pulling or digging young plants is effective if performed prior to seed set. Larger individuals must be removed using a weed wrench; however, the species has a tendency to create root sprouts if a significant amount of material is left in the ground.

Mulching

Mulching may help reduce the seed bank and cover bare ground after infestations have been controlled via spraying and or pulling, however, this will also reduce the reestablishment of other, native vegetation in the area, too

Chemical Control

The pesticide application rates and usage herein are recommendations based on research and interviews with land managers.  When considering the use of pesticides, it is your responsibility to fully understand the laws, regulations and best practices required to apply pesticides in a responsible manner.  At times, the pest you seek to treat may not be on a pesticide label, requiring a 2ee exemption from NYSDEC.  Always thoroughly read the label of any pesticide and consult the NYSDEC or a licensed pesticide applicator with questions.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=184745#null

https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomydetail?id=3815

https://pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Aralia+elata

https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=276610

https://invasive-species.extension.org/aralia-elata-japanese-angelica-tree/

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/6977

https://plants.sc.egov.usda.gov/home/plantProfile?symbol=AREL8

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-14042

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

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

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