What Does Aralia Elata Look Like?

What Does Aralia Elata Look Like?

Aralia Elata is an upright deciduous little tree or shrub that grows up to 10 m (33 ft.) in height and is endemic to eastern Russia, China, Korea, and Japan. The bark is trough gray and prickled.

The leaves are alternating, huge, and double pinnate, measuring 60-120 cm long. In late summer, spectacular white umbels bloom, with each blossom being tiny and white. A little black drupe is a fruit.

Aralia elata is closely related to the American species, Aralia spinosa which also grows in North America. Both Aralia elata and Aralia spinosa have similar uses, but from a classification perspective, they are different species from each other. The former are found in eastern Asia while the latter are native to North America.

Aralia elata is grown for its exotic look, which results from a variety of traits including its dwarf shape and variegated patterns. Instead of growing tall like their relatives, they are low growers that may reach a height of only a few meters.

The leaves are dark green, leathery and shiny. They produce flowers that are white with red stamens and petals at the top of the tree in late summer or early fall.

It has large, heart-shaped leaves that are green on top, and white with fine hairs underneath. They are thick and shiny. The form of the leaves is variable, being either long and narrow or broad (3–7 inches). They are produced in a dense clump at the end of the twig.

There is also great variability as to how much variability there is between leaves since some plants will produce leaves that are more narrow or broader than others.

In the fall, Aralia Elata produces large clusters of small white flowers that turn into bright red berries. The stems are tender and can be eaten raw or cooked. The berries can be eaten fresh or made into jams and wines.

The bark has long, black hairs. The root is thick, fleshy, and white with a strong aroma. The stem is divided into many joints and the base is swollen like a trunk on first-year plants. The branches are irregular in appearance and are covered with dark, light-colored hairs.

What Is Aralia Elata Used For?

Aralia Elata can be used in various ways. The bark can be used to wrap other medicinal and it is also used as a strong binding material. The wood is tough and solid, hard, heavy, and close-grained. It is suitable for making a coffin for burials. The leaves are used to stop the bleeding in one’s nose.

The leaves are also believed to decrease swelling on the face when placed in hot water, which is then applied directly to the face. In Asia, various species of Aralia have been utilized as medicinal plants to treat diabetes, liver disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and low blood pressure. The following are the uses of Aralia Elata;

Use as medicine:

Aralia Elata has a long history of traditional use for many ailments, including liver, gastrointestinal problems, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Due to the high tannin content in the plant, it is also used as a laxative. The flowers are used as a brain tonic and are widely used in traditional herbal medicines.

The stem and roots of Aralia Elata are used in traditional Chinese medicine as a functional food, particularly to boost the immune system and improve blood circulation. They have been shown to have anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory activity.

Use as fertilizer:

Aralia Elata leaf litter is high in nitrogen and potassium and can be used as mulch or fertilizer in orchards to promote the growth of new trees. Aralia Elata leaves also retain nitrogen when used as compost.

Use of bark:

Aralia Elata bark is used in the production and harvest of tannic acid, used in tanning and leather processing. While the wood is durable and strong, it can be difficult to process, so it is often combined with other woods to make it easier to work with or dried and turned into charcoal. It can be used for furniture and construction material like railroad ties.

Use as food:

Aralia Elata is eaten fresh, cooked in soups, or stewed. The fruits are edible, sweet, and sour and can be used to make jelly or wine. Aralia Elata also has nutrient properties, including phosphorus and potassium, as well as iron and calcium.

Use as an ornamental plant:

Aralia Elata is used in ornamental gardening as a background plant that contrasts with colorful flowers and greenery. They are suitable for growing in beds or borders along with other plants and for use as hedges. Aralia Elata can be grown indoors in pots.

Use an as a dye:

The roots of Aralia Elata and some other plants contain tannin that can be used to dye wool, paper, and fabric. Dyeing with Aralia Elata is a process called Sumi-e which translates to “black ink painting”. The indigo or blackish color is obtained by steeping the root in water for 3–4 days.

How Do You Care For Aralia Elata?

Aralia Elata is relatively easy to care for. The amount of sunlight to grow this plant is not as difficult as some other plants. In general, this plant does best in full sun to partial shade. Aralia Elata can also handle being watered in both summer and winter so long as it is not over-watered.

Over-watering can cause the leaves to rot or be killed outright, making caring for the plant more difficult. Any damage caused by the deer should be repaired immediately and not left for a long period before tending to again. The following are the factors to consider when caring for Aralia Elata;


Aralia Elata prefers full sun to partial shade. It can do well in full sun for at least 6-8 hours a day, but if the sunlight is too intense it can lead to the leaves drying out or being burned. Therefore, partial shade to full sun is preferred for this plant. If the plant is planted in a part of your yard that was shaded, try to move it where it gets more sunlight. The leaves of Aralia Elata will start to turn yellow and begin to fall off once they do not get enough sunlight.


Aralia Elata is drought tolerant and will not be damaged by being watered in winter. Water frequently but with little water to avoid paddling. Over-watering can cause the leaves to rot or be killed outright. It is suggested that the plant cannot get over-watered, but that is just a general rule of thumb. If the plant needs thorough watering, then do so. However, making sure not to over-water can help prevent the disease from spreading and damaging the roots of this plant.


Aralia Elata prefers deep, loamy, well-drained soil free of disease. Having acidic soil can harm the plant. The soil should be rich and have a pH of 7.0. This plant can also be grown in mulched beds containing peat moss, pine bark, and compost as long as the plants are watered once a week during most seasons, but no more than that.


Aralia Elata is not very susceptible to temperature changes. It does best when the temperature is in the range of 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower temperatures will slow the growth of the plant but do not harm it.


Aralia Elata prefers a high level of humidity. The humidity should be at least 50% during the day and 75% during the night. It is normal for this plant to release small amounts of moisture from the leaves as it breathes. If this happens, do not be alarmed as it does not hurt the plant or cause disease.

Pests and Diseases:

Aralia Elata is resistant to most pests and diseases. It has no problems with a mealy bug or white fly. However, as with any plant, some pest species such as aphids and spider mites can damage it. Spider mites are very common in homes because they can build nests in many places like clothes, plants, etc.


Aralia Elata can be fertilized in the spring, summer, and fall to encourage new growth. Fertilizing the soil in late winter or early spring may cause a few plants to die back. Fertilizing in late summer or early fall may cause leaves to turn a little yellow.


Aralia Elata can be propagated by seed, cuttings, or division. Propagation from cuttings is easy but is best done in warm weather. Propagating from seed is the most difficult method of propagation for this plant. To propagate from seed, wait for the last frost and then wait until new growth has started to form. Then, cut adolescent plants from where they were growing on the parent plant and place them in moist soil.


Aralia Elata can be pruned annually in late spring to remove dead leaves and verify that nothing has died back to the roots. To do so, cut the plants to the ground around their stem. This is not necessary, but cutting the dying plants off at the base of their stems can help them look better and last longer.


Aralia Elata can be repotted once every 2-3 years during spring and summer. To do so, place a small amount of potting soil into the plant’s container and fill around the roots with more soil. Smaller plants should be placed into smaller pots to make up for their smaller size. When repotting, use fresh soil and never mix new roots with older roots or they could die.

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