From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aralia elata en fleur4081.jpg
Aralia elata
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Araliaceae
Subfamily: Aralioideae
Genus: Aralia
Type species
Aralia racemosa

Aralia /əˈrliə/,[1] or spikenard, is a genus of the family Araliaceae, consisting of 68 accepted species of deciduous or evergreen trees, shrubs, and rhizomatous herbaceous perennials. The genus is native to Asia and the Americas, with most species occurring in mountain woodlands. Aralia plants vary in size, with some herbaceous species only reaching 50 centimetres (20 in) tall, while some are trees growing to 20 metres (66 ft) tall.

Aralia plants have large bipinnate (doubly compound) leaves clustered at the ends of their stems or branches; in some species the leaves are covered with bristles. The stems of some woody species are quite prickly, as in Aralia spinosa. The flowers are whitish or greenish occurring in terminal panicles, and the spherical dark purple berry-like fruits are popular with birds.

Aralia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including the common emerald (Hemithea aestivaria). There are many colours of aralia flowers. The main flower is whitish aralia.

Some species, notably Aralia cordata, are edible and are cultivated for human consumption.


The taxonomic circumscription of the genus Aralia has varied greatly. Species formerly included in wider views of the genus are now included in such separate genera as Fatsia, Macropanax, Oreopanax, Panax, Polyscias, Pseudopanax, Schefflera, and Tetrapanax.

The genus Dimorphanthus, formerly considered distinct by some, is now included within Aralia as a section within that genus.


As of May 2021, Plants of the World Online accepted the following species:[2]

Fossil record[edit]

One fossil endocarp of †Aralia pusilla has been described from a middle Miocene stratum of the Fasterholt area near Silkeborg in Central Jutland, Denmark.[3] Several fossil fruits of Aralia rugosa and †Aralia tertiaria have been extracted from bore hole samples of the Middle Miocene fresh water deposits in Nowy Sacz Basin, West Carpathians, Poland.[4] Several Aralia macrofossils have been recovered from the late Zanclean stage of Pliocene sites in Pocapaglia, Italy.[5]


  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ "Aralia L." Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-05-22.
  3. ^ Angiosperm Fruits and Seeds from the Middle Miocene of Jutland (Denmark) by Else Marie Friis, The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters 24:3, 1985
  4. ^ Łańcucka-Środoniowa M.: Macroscopic plant remains from the freshwater Miocene of the Nowy Sącz Basin (West Carpathians, Poland) [Szczątki makroskopowe roślin z miocenu słodkowodnego Kotliny Sądeckiej (Karpaty Zachodnie, Polska)]. Acta Palaeobotanica 1979 20 (1): 3-117.
  5. ^ Messian to Zanclean vegetation and climate of Northern and Central Italy by Adele Bertini & Edoardo Martinetto, Bollettino della Societa Paleontologica Italiana, 47 (2), 2008, 105-121. Modena, 11 July 2008.


  • Frodin, D. G. and R. Govaerts. 2003. World Checklist and Bibliography of Araliaceae. Kew, UK: The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Wen, J. 2004. Systematics and biogeography of Aralia L. sect. Dimorphanthus (Miq.) Miq. (Araliaceae). Cathaya 15-16: 1–187.

External links[edit]