This unusual plant is hard to define. It grows tall enough in the wild to be a tree, but is often a large shrub in landscapes. Large clusters of tiny white flowers appear in late summer followed by small, black fruit. Stems are thorny. Angelica tree has become invasive in a few areas.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Medium tree (25-40 feet),
- Small tree (15-25 feet),
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Occasional drought,
- Clay soil
Season of Interest:
- Mid summer,
- Late summer
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Size and Form
12 to 20 feet high and 6 to 10 feet wide; upright with a suckering habit.
Tree & Plant Care
Remove excess suckers to control width of plant.
Disease, pests and problems
No serious disease or insect problems.
Control of suckering is an ongoing maintenance issue.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to Asia.
Bark color and texture
Light gray stems with a number of prominent thorns.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Large (2 to 4 feet long), double compound leaves, with numerous leaflets.
Leave dark green with no fall color.
Small thorns also occur on the leaves.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Small, white flowers in large, flattened clusters (up to 1 1/2 feet wide).
Flowers in mid to late summer.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Broad clusters of small dark purple berry-like fruit (drupes).
Variegata (Aralia elata ‘Variegata’): This cultivar grows 10 to 15 feet high with an upright, colony-forming habit. Growth rate is slow. Unwanted suckers should be removed from this grafted plant. This multi-stemmed tree-like shrub has wide, medium green leaves with irregular creamy-white leaf margins.