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Schefflera digitata
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Araliaceae
Subfamily: Aralioideae
Genus: Schefflera
J.R.Forst. & G.Forst. (1775)
13 species

Schefflera /ˈʃɛflərə/[1] is a genus of flowering plants in the family Araliaceae with 13 species native to New Zealand and some Pacific islands.[2]

The genus is named in honor of Johann Peter Ernst von Scheffler (born in 1739), physician and botanist of Gdańsk, and later of Warsaw, who contributed plants to Gottfried Reyger for Reygers book, 'Tentamen Florae Gedanensis'.[3][4][5]


The circumscription of the genus has varied greatly. Phylogenetic studies have shown that the widely used broad circumscription was polyphyletic, so most of its hundreds of species have been reassigned to other genera.[6][7] Molecular analyses have recovered five polyphyletic clades of Schefflera, all of which are geographically isolated from one another yet share similar traits indicating parallel evolution.[8] These clades have been split into separate genera, primarily along geographical lines, with Schefflera now consisting of thirteen species restricted to New Zealand and some Pacific islands.[9][10][11]

The old Didymopanax Decne. & Planch., 1854 genus was resurrected in 2020 to welcome the 37 American species of Schefflera J.R. et G. Forst..[12]

The genus has had a turbulent taxonomic history; the list of former synonyms includes:


13 species are currently accepted:[13]

Fossil record[edit]

Two fossil fruits of †Schefflera dorofeevii have been extracted from bore hole samples of the Middle Miocene fresh water deposits in Nowy Sacz Basin, West Carpathians, Poland.[14]


  1. ^ Western Garden Book (6th ed.). Sunset Pub Co. 1995. pp. 606–607. ISBN 978-0-376-03850-0.
  2. ^ "Schefflera J.R.Forst. & G.Forst". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  3. ^ Forster. J.R. and Forster, G. Characteres Generum Plantarum (page). 1776
  4. ^ Reyger, G. Tentamen Florae Gedanensis. vol. 2. 1766
  5. ^ Schumann, E., ed. (1893). "Die einheimisclien Mitglieder der Gesellschaft, Lebensläufe". Schriften der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft in Danzig. 8 (2): 83.
  6. ^ G. M. Plunkett; Porter P. Lowry II; D. G. Frodin & Jun Wen (2005). "Phylogeny and geography of Schefflera: pervasive polyphyly in the largest genus of Araliaceae". Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 92 (2): 202–224. JSTOR 3298514.
  7. ^ Pedro Fiaschi & Gregory M. Plunkett (2011). "Monophyly and phylogenetic relationships of Neotropical Schefflera (Araliaceae) based on plastid and nuclear markers". Systematic Botany. 36 (3): 806–817. doi:10.1600/036364411X583754. S2CID 85944746.
  8. ^ Plunkett, Gregory M; Lowry, Porter P; Frodin, David G; Wen, Jun (2005). "Phylogeny and geography of Schefflera: Pervasive polyphyly in the largest genus of Araliaceae". Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 92 (2): 202–224.
  9. ^ a b c Lowry, Porter P.; Plunkett, Gregory M.; Gostel, Morgan R.; Frodin, David G. (June 2017). "A synopsis of the Afro-Malagasy species previously included in Schefflera (Araliaceae): resurrection of the genera Astropanax and Neocussonia" (PDF). Candollea. 72 (2): 265–282. doi:10.15553/c2017v722a4. ISSN 0373-2967. S2CID 90636101.
  10. ^ Plunkett, Gregory M.; Lowry, Porter P.; Fiaschi, Pedro; Frodin, David G.; Nicolas, Antoine N. (2019). "Phylogeny, biogeography, and morphological evolution among and within the Neotropical and Asian clades of Schefflera (Araliaceae)". Taxon. 68 (6): 1278–1313. doi:10.1002/tax.12177. ISSN 1996-8175. S2CID 214109057.
  11. ^ a b Ii, Porter P. Lowry; Plunkett, Gregory M.; Neill, David A. (2019-11-22). "Studies in Neotropical Araliaceae. II. Resurrection of the Neotropical Genus Crepinella for a Clade of New World Species Previously Included in Schefflera (Araliaceae)". Novon: A Journal for Botanical Nomenclature. 27 (4): 253–261. doi:10.3417/2019510. ISSN 1945-6174. S2CID 210157464.
  12. ^ a b Pedro FIASCHI; Porter P. LOWRY; Gregory M. PLUNKETT (2020). "Studies in Neotropical Araliaceae. III. Resurrection of the New World genus Didymopanax Decne. & Planch., previously included in Schefflera (Araliaceae)" (PDF). Brittonia. 72 (1): 16Y22 (1–7). doi:10.1007/s12228-019-09604-w. ISSN 0007-196X. S2CID 210864937.
  13. ^ Schefflera J.R.Forst. & G.Forst. Plants of the World Online. Accessed 16 April 2023.
  14. ^ 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.

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