Aralia californica ‘Elk Clover – Spikenard ‘

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There are around 40 species of vigorous deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs and a few rhizomatous perennial from Southern and Eastern Asia, Malaysia, and North, Central, and South America found in mainly in Mountainous woodlands.  They bear striking large compound leaves consisting of numerous leaflets are sometimes covered with large bristles.  Some of the tree and shrub species have prickly stems and inclined to sucker from the roots.  It produces numerous densely packed cream white or greenish white flowers are borne in terminal panicles of spherical umbels or cymes followed by spherical black fruits that are eagerly eaten by birds.

Grow in fertile, humus rich, moist soil in a sunny or partially shaded site sheltered from strong winds.   All will tolerate light frost but need a warm humid summer for best growth.  Poorer soils are said to produce hardier, longer-lived specimen.  Divide rhizomatous perennial in spring.

Prone Alternaria leaf spot, Xanthomonas leaf spot, aphids, spider mitess, mealy bugs, and stem borers.

Aralia californica – Elk Clover – Spikenard – This giant perennial from moist areas of Oregon to California grows 8-10’ feet tall and in breadth, it dies back to the ground in winter. They bear compound leaves 3-6” long each with 5-15 ovate to oblong, thin, toothed, mid green leaflets to 12” long.  In summer it bears sprays to 18” long of white or greenish-white flowers followed by spherical purplish fruit.  It’s a shade loving plant, which has rhizomes that were used medicinally in the past.

Zones 8-10