|Fatsia japonica in flower|
Decne. & Planch.
Fatsia is a small genus of three species of evergreen shrubs native to southern Japan and Taiwan. They typically have stout, sparsely branched stems bearing spirally-arranged, large leathery, palmately lobed leaves 20–50 cm in width, on a petiole up to 50 cm long, and small creamy-white flowers in dense terminal compound umbels in late autumn or early winter, followed by small black fruit.
Fatsia japonica, known as Fatsi or Japanese aralia (also occasionally as glossy-leaved paper plant, false castor oil plant, fig-leaf palm), is a shrub growing to 3–6 m tall. The leaves have 7-9 broad lobes, divided to half or two-thirds of the way to the base of the leaf; the lobes are edged with coarse, blunt teeth. It is native to southern Japan. The name "Fatsi" is older Japanese, meaning 'eight' (in present-day Japanese hachi), referring to the eight lobes. In Japanese, it is called Yatsude meaning "eight hand". The name 'Japanese Aralia" is due to the genus formerly being classified within a broader interpretation of the related genus Aralia in the past (synonyms include Aralia japonica and Aralia sieboldii). It is a popular garden shrub in areas where winters do not fall below about -15 °C.