Fatsia japonica

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Fatsia japonica
Fatsia japonica.003.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Fatsia
Species: F. japonica
Binomial name
Fatsia japonica
(Thunb.) Decne. & Planch.

Fatsia japonica (fatsi, paperplant or Japanese aralia; syn. Aralia japonica Thunb., A. sieboldii Hort. ex K.Koch) is a species of flowering plant in the family Araliaceae, native to southern Japan and South Korea.

It is an evergreen shrub growing to 3–6 m (9.8–19.7 ft) tall, with stout, sparsely branched stems. The leaves are spirally-arranged, large, 20–50 cm (7.9–19.7 in) in width and on a petiole up to 50 cm (20 in) long, leathery, palmately lobed, with 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. The flowers are small, white, borne in dense terminal compound umbels in late autumn or early winter, followed by small black fruit.

The name "fatsi" is an approximation of the old Japanese word for 'eight' (hachi in modern Japanese), referring to the eight lobes. In Japan it is known as yatsude, meaning "eight fingers". The name "Japanese aralia" is due to the genus formerly being classified within a broader interpretation of the related genus Aralia in the past. It has been interbred with Hedera helix (common ivy) to produce the intergeneric hybrid × Fatshedera lizei.

Cultivation and uses[edit]

It is commonly grown as an ornamental plant in warm temperate regions where winters do not fall below about -15°C. F. japonica have been shown to effectively remove gaseous formaldehyde from indoor air.[1]

This plant[2] and its cultivar F. japonica 'Variegata'[3] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.


While grown as a landscaping plant, it has also become naturalised in some areas. In New Zealand it has become established in waste areas and abandoned gardens, spreading via suckers.


The sap, which is sticky and resinous, can cause contact dermatitis in sensitive people.


  1. ^ Kwang Jin Kim, Mi Jung Kil, Jeong Seob Song, Eun Ha Yoo, Ki-Cheol Son, Stanley J. Kays (July 2008). "Efficiency of Volatile Formaldehyde Removal by Indoor Plants: Contribution of Aerial Plant Parts versus the Root Zone". Journal of The American Society for Horticultural Science 133 (4): 521–526. ISSN 0003-1062. 
  2. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Fatsia japonica". Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Fatsia japonica 'Variegata'". Retrieved 19 June 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan.
  • BBC Gardening: Fatsia japonica
  • Poplay, I. et al. (2010). "An illustrated Guide to Common Weeds Of New Zealand" 3rd ed. Pg. 36