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Aralia elata (photo courtesy of Plantography/Alamy)
Aralia elata (photo courtesy of Plantography/Alamy)

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Aralia elata

Angelica Tree
Deciduous, Trees


Most aralias are striking bold-leafed plants that may eventually grow to 25–30 ft. tall under ideal conditions; they are not for small gardens. They’re often shrublike and multistemmed (because of their suckering habit), especially in colder areas where they may grow to only 10 ft. tall. Clumps may be from one-half to almost as wide as they are tall. Branches are nearly vertical or slightly spreading, usually very spiny. Their leaves, clustered at ends of branches and divided into many leaflets, are huge. White flowers, small but in large, branched clusters in midsummer, are followed by purplish berrylike fruit enjoyed by birds.

Give them well-drained soil. Sharp spines make them poor choices to grow near swimming pools. Protect plants from wind to avoid burning foliage. Minimal pruning needed; just dig out suckers to limit spread.

Aralia elata

Native to Asia. Only moderately spiny. Leaves are 2–3 ft. long, divided into toothed, stalkless, 2–6-in.-long leaflets. Leaflets of ‘Aureovariegata’ are bordered with gold; those of ‘Variegata’ with creamy white.

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