(schef-flair' ah)

Common name: Schefflera, Umbrella Tree

Family: Araliaceae, Aralia

Height x width: 3-10' x 1-3' usually indoors, larger outdoors as a small tree

Foliage: long-stalked, rounded, divided with 3-30 stalked leaflets, shape varies with species

Flowers: tiny flowers in various structures, seldom seen indoors

Light: bright to moderate

Temperature: cool to average

Watering: moderate

Fertility: moderate

Humidity: high

Soil: well-drained

Pests and Problems: scales and mealybugs (both are common), aphids, spider mites, thrips; leaves fall if plant is too cold, soil too wet, low light; yellow and stunted growth indicates low fertility

Growth habit, uses: foliage

Other interest: a genus much worked over by taxonomists, originally Schefflera, then Brassaia and Heptapleurum, now back to Schefflera and another genus Dizygotheca is now included as well; named for 18th century physician J.G. Scheffler, a friend to several plant explorers; native to Taiwan, Australia and New Guinea; sap may irritate skin and mucuous membranes

Other culture: often gets leggy indoors from low light

Propagation: tip cuttings, air layer, seed


Of the over 700 species in this large genus, the following are the ones generally found in commerce and of most importance.

actinophylla (ac-tin' no-phil' ah)-- Queensland Umbrella Tree, Octopus Tree, most common species, large leaves of 7-16 large ovate to oblong leaflets to 12" long, leathery, glossy and rich green; fewer and smaller leaflets on juvenile plants which are usually grown

arboricola (Heptapleurum) (ar-bore-i-co' lah)--Dwarf Schefflera, leaves divided into 7-11 obovate, stalked, short-pointed leaflets to 4" long; leaflets on juvenile plants have short, broadly spaced teeth; 'Green Gold' has leaves variously splashed golden yellow

elegantissima (Dizygotheca)(e-le-gan-tiss' i-mah)--False Aralia, leaves of 7-11 narrow, linear, deeply toothed leaflets 6-9" long, dark green to blackish, glossy when young

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

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