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 racemosa – Spikenard – American Spikenard – This many stemmed, spreading rhizomatous perennial from North America grows 4-10’ feet tall and 4’ feet wide. It produces compound mid green leaves to 30” long with 3-5 rounded to oval leaflets, which are hairless and toothed. In late spring and early summer it bears small greenish white flower in spike like inflorescences 8-16” long followed by spherical dark purple fruit 1/8” wide