Common name: Japanese angelica tree
Aralia elata is a deciduous shrub or or multi-stemmed small tree native to Eastern Russia, China, Korea, and Japan and introduced around 1830 to Europe and the eastern USA. It is a member of the family Araliaceae. Its foliage is bipinnate with each leaf made up of leaflets, and the leaflets are made up of little leaflets. It spreads by underground runners and bird-scattered seeds. It has spiny stems. .Aralia elata bears panicles of white, 5-petaled blooms. The blooms are very atttractive to bees. Clusters of blackish fruit (drupes) ripen in fall, and are enjoyed by birds that spread the seeds.
In Japan, the shoots which are picked from the ends of the branches are called Tara-no-me (タラの芽) and dureup (두릅) in Korea. These shoots are fried in tempura batter, and are said to taste like mild asparagus.
Aralia elata can be found on the Winter Walk.
Leaf and flower close-up photos by Linda Marshik