Content Detail

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. The stems are thorny. Angelica trees have become invasive in a few areas.

  • Family (English) Ginseng
  • Family (botanic) Araliaceae
  • Tree or plant type Tree, Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large shrub (more than 8 feet), Small tree (15-25 feet), Medium tree (25-40 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances clay soil, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest midsummer, late summer
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Thicket-forming, Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size and Form: 

The Angelica tree is 12 to 20 feet high and 6 to 10 feet wide. It has an upright, suckering habit.

Native geographic location and habitat: 

This tree is native to Asia.

Bark color and texture: 

The light gray stems have a number of prominent thorns.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture: 

The leaves are large, 2 to 4 feet long, doubly compound, with numerous leaflets. Leaves are  dark green with no fall color. Small thorns also occur on the leaves.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

The small, white flowers are held in large, flattened clusters up to 1 1/2 feet wide. It flowers in mid to late summer.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

The fruit is a broad cluster of small dark-purple berry-like fruit (drupes).

Plant care: 

Remove excess suckers to control the width of the plant.

List of pests and diseases: 

This plant has no serious disease or insect problems. Control of suckering is an ongoing maintenance issue.

Variegata (Aralia elata ‘Variegata’):  

This cultivar grows 10 to 15 feet high with an upright, colony-forming habit. Its 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.


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