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Tetrapanax papyrifer

(Rice-Paper Tree)

Interesting Facts

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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Chinese:

Tong Cao, Tong Tuo Mu, 蓪草

Common Names in Danish:

Kinesisk Papirplante

Common Names in Dutch:

Rijstpapierboom, Rijstpapierplant

Common Names in English:

Rice-Paper Tree, Chinese Rice-Paper Plant, Chinese Rice-Paper-Plant, Pith-Paper Plant, Rice paper plant, Rice-Paper Plant, Rice-Paper-Plant, Ricepaper Plant, Tetrapanax

Common Names in French:

Aralie à Papier, Aralie à Papier De Chine, Arbre à Papier De Riz

Common Names in German:


Common Names in Japanese:

Kami Yatsude, Tsuso, カミヤツデ

Common Names in Korean:

Tong Tal Mok

Common Names in Russian:

Aralia Bumazhnaia, Tetrapanaks Bumagonosnyi, Tetrapanaks Bumazhnyi

Common Names in Spanish:

Aralia, Planta Del Papel De Arroz

Common Names in Spanish, Castilian:



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Family Araliaceae

Trees or shrubs , sometimes woody vines with aerial roots , rarely perennial herbs, hermaphroditic , andromonoecious or dioecious, often with stellate indumentum or more rarely simple trichomes or bristles , with or without prickles, secretory canals present in most parts. Leaves alternate, rarely opposite (never in Chinese taxa), simple and often palmately lobed , palmately compound , or 1-3-pinnately compound , usually crowded toward apices of branches, base of petiole often broad and sheathing stem, stipules absent or forming a ligule or membranous border of petiole. Inflorescence terminal or pseudo-lateral (by delayed development), umbellate , compound-umbellate, racemose, racemose-umbellate, or racemose-paniculate, ultimate units usually umbels or heads , occasionally racemes or spikes, flowers rarely solitary; bracts usually present, often caducous , rarely foliaceous . Flowers bisexual or unisexual , actinomorphic . Pedicels often jointed below ovary and forming an articulation . Calyx absent or forming a low rim , sometimes undulate or with short teeth. Corolla of (3-) 5(-20) petals, free or rarely united , mostly valvate , sometimes imbricate. Stamens usually as many as and alternate with petals, sometimes numerous , distinct , inserted at edge of disk; anthers versatile, introrse , 2-celled (or 4-celled in some non-Chinese taxa), longitudinally dehiscent . Disk epigynous, often fleshy , slightly depressed to rounded or conic, sometimes confluent with styles. Ovary inferior (rarely secondarily superior in some non-Chinese taxa), (1 or) 2-10(to many) -carpellate; carpels united, with as many locules; ovules pendulous, 2 per locule, 1 abortive ; styles as many as carpels, free or partially united, erect or recurved, or fully united to form a column; stigmas terminal or decurrent on inner face of styles, or sessile on disk, circular to elliptic and radiating. Fruit a drupe or berry, terete or sometimes laterally compressed , occasionally vertically compressed , exocarp fleshy; pyrenes cartilaginous or membranous, often laterally compressed. Seeds 1 per pyrene, embryo small, endosperm uniform or ruminate .

About 50 genera and 1350 species: widespread in tropical and subtropical regions of both hemispheres, much less diverse in temperate areas; 23 genera (two endemic, one introduced ) and 180 species (82 endemic, seven introduced) in China.

Chinese genera of economic importance include Aralia, Eleutherococcus, Heteropanax, Panax, and Tetrapanax (medicinal), Hedera (ornamental ), Fatsia and Schefflera (medicinal and ornamental), and Kalopanax (timber) .

Recent phylogenetic studies (Plunkett and Lowry, Molec. Phylogen. Evol. 19: 259-276. 2001; Wen et al. , Syst. Bot. 26: 144-167. 2001; Chandler and Plunkett, Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 144: 123-147. 2004; Mitchell and Wen, Taxon 53: 29-41. 2004; Plunkett et al., S. Afr. J. Bot. 70: 371-381. 2004) have shown that Hydrocotyle Linnaeus belongs to Araliaceae, despite being traditionally included in Apiaceae (see Fl. China 14: 14-18. 2005) .

Diplopanax Handel-Mazzetti was at one time placed in Araliaceae but is now regarded as a member of Mastixiaceae (see Fl. China 14: 231-232. 2005) .[1]

Genus Tetrapanax

Shrubs to small trees , evergreen , hermaphroditic , unarmed , stellate pubescent . Leaves simple , palmately lobed , margin entire to coarsely serrate; stipules 2, awl-shaped , prominent , 7-8 cm. Inflorescence a terminal panicle of umbels, densely farinose stellate when young, glabrescent . Pedicels not articulate below ovary. Calyx nearly obsolete . Petals 4(or 5), valvate , abaxially tomentose . Stamens 4(or 5). Ovary 2-carpellate; styles 2, free , erect at anthesis , later recurved. Fruit a drupe, globose , slightly compressed laterally. Seeds laterally compressed , endosperm smooth .[2]

Physical Description

Species Tetrapanax papyrifer

Shrubs or small trees , to 3.5 m tall, densely ferruginous or pale brown stellate tomentose . Trunk to 9 cm in diam.; pith homogeneous , white, large. Petiole terete , to 50 cm, glabrous ; leaf blade ovate-oblong, 50-75 cm wide, papery or subleathery, abaxially densely ferruginous or stellate tomentose, adaxially glabrous, 7-12-lobed, base obtuse to cordate, margin entire to coarsely serrate, apex acuminate. Inflorescence terminal , peduncles 1-1.5 cm; umbels 1-2 cm in diam., many flowered. Flowers yellowish white. Calyx ca. 1 mm, densely stellate tomentose. Corolla petals 4(or 5), ca. 2 mm, densely stellate tomentose. Stamens 4(or 5) ; filaments ca. 3 mm. Fruit dark purple at maturity, globose , ca. 4 mm in diam. Fl. Oct-Dec, fr. Jan-Feb. 2n = 48*. [source]

Frodin and Govaerts (World Checklist Bibliogr. Araliaceae, 400. 2004 ["2003"]) indicated that Tetrapanax papyrifer is probably native to Taiwan and introduced in S China. [source]

Habit: Evergreen .

Flowers: Bloom Period: July, August. • Flower Color: near white, white


Size: 10-12' tall.


Mixed thickets; 100-2800 m. [3].


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Culture: Space 12-15' apart.

Soil: Minimum pH: 6.6 • Maximum pH: 7.5

Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade.

Temperature: Cold Hardiness: 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b. (map)


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Aralia mairei H. Léveillé • Aralia papyrifera Hooker • Didymopanax papyriferus (Hook.) K. Koch • Echinopanax papyriferus (Hook.) Kuntze • Fatsia papyrifera (Hooker) Miquel Ex Witte. • Hookers J. Bot. Kew Gard. Misc. 4: 50. 1852 • Panax papyrifer (Hook.) F. Muell.


Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: 11-Nov-2003

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Tetrapanax

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 2 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

T. papyrifer (Rice-Paper Tree) · T. papyriferus (Ricepaper Plant)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal December 05, 2007:



  1. Qibai Xiang & Porter P. Lowry "Araliaceae". in Flora of China Vol. 13 Page 435. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  2. "Tetrapanax". in Flora of China Vol. 13 Page 435, 436, 437, 440. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  3. "Tetrapanax papyrifer". in Flora of China Vol. 13 Page 440. Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
Last Revised: 2014-11-20