Aralia elata Japanese angelica-tree Araliaceae AREL*p; Bx, bg, pb, vc, wv; NY, ft, hb; Q, a, cu; R, ah, bk, bm, cs, d, fw, gb, h, lp, r, ro, sv, w, wp;

 

Aralia elata.commons.wikimedia.org

Aralia elata.commons.wikimedia.org (Accessed 7/2014).

Aralia elata is a shrub or small tree to 10 m tall, stems very spiny, stout, sparsely branched, colonial from root sprouts, forms thickets, leaf scars large, narrow, extending more than half way around stem, vein scars five or more in a row within leaf scar not as prickly as A. spinosa

Leaves alternate, 40-80 cm long, 1-3 times pinnate, leaflets 6-12 cm long, distinctly stalked, slightly hairy below, veins run to ends of teeth, do not join near edge, margin broadly toothed. 

Flowers greenish-white, small; inflorescence of large, branched clusters, on a short axis, branches 30-45 cm long, July-Aug. 

Aralia elata (Japanese angelica) fruit. plantsgallery.blogspot.com

Aralia elata (Japanese angelica) fruit. plantsgallery.blogspot.com (Accessed 9/2017).

Fruit black, ripens Aug.-Oct., 2-5 seeded berries. Fruit eaten by birds and small mammals. 

Wetland status: UPL. 

Frequency in NYC: Occasional. 

Origin: Japan. 

Habitat: Forest understories, disturbed woodlands, escaped from cultivation (Dirr 1990; Greller et al. 1991). Found in forest soil pH 5.0 (Gargiullo unpublished data). prickles thought to deter damage by herbivores (Briand and Soros 2001). 

Notes: Often mistaken for A. spinosa (devil’s walking stick) , a species native to the southern US. It is likely that there is no A. spinosa in NYC (Steven Glenn personal communication).  Aralia spinosa has leaves with leaflets 5-8 cm long, margins finely toothed, veins join near ends of leaf teeth, and an inflorescence with main axis elongate and branches 20-35 cm long.