Tetrapanax

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Tetrapanax papyrifer
Rice Paper Plant-Fitch.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Araliaceae
Subfamily: Aralioideae
Genus: Tetrapanax
(K.Koch) K.Koch
Species: T. papyrifer
Binomial name
Tetrapanax papyrifer
(Hook.) K.Koch

Tetrapanax papyrifer (通草—tong cao, or Rice-paper Plant) is an evergreen shrub in the family Araliaceae, the sole species in the genus Tetrapanax.[1] The specific epithet is frequently misspelled as "papyriferum", "papyriferus", or "papyrifera". It is endemic to Taiwan, but widely cultivated in East Asia and sometimes in other tropical regions as well. [2] The species was once included in the genus Fatsia as Fatsia papyrifera.[3]

A second species, Tetrapanax tibetanus, is now regarded as a synonym of Merrilliopanax alpinus.[4]

Description[edit]

It grows to 3-7 m tall, with usually unbranched stems 2 cm diameter bearing a rosette of large leaves at the top (superficially similar to a palm crown). The leaves are carried on 40-60 cm petioles, the leaf blade orbicular, 30-50 cm across, deeply palmately lobed with 5-11 primary lobes, the central lobes larger and Y-forked near the end. It spreads extensively by sprouts from the root system underground. The inflorescence is a large panicle of hemispherical to globular umbels near the end of the stem. The flowers have 4 or 5 small white petals. The fruit is a small drupe.

Uses[edit]

Tetrapanax papyrifer is used in traditional Chinese medicine and as an ornamental. The pith from the stem is used to make a substance commonly known as rice paper,[3] but more properly termed pith paper.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Qibai Xiang & Porter P. Lowry. "Tetrapanax". Flora of China. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  2. ^ George W. Staples and Derral R. Herbst. 2005. "A Tropical Garden Flora". Bishop Museum Press: Honolulu, HI, USA.
  3. ^ a b Qibai Xiang & Porter P. Lowry. "Tetrapanax papyrifer". Flora of China. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  4. ^ Qibai Xiang & Porter P. Lowry. "Merrilliopanax alpinus". Flora of China. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 

External links[edit]