Tetrapanax Species, Rice Paper Plant, Rice-Paper Tree

Tetrapanax papyrifer

Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Tetrapanax (tet-ruh-PAN-aks) (Info)
Species: papyrifer (pap-IH-riff-er) (Info)
Synonym:Aralia papyrifer
Synonym:Fatsia papyrifera
Synonym:Tetrapanax papyriferus





Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Adana, Adana(2 reports)

Anniston, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Wetumpka, Alabama

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Clovis, California

Davis, California

Los Angeles, California

San Francisco, California

Sonoma, California

Bartow, Florida

Bradenton, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Deland, Florida

Fort Mc Coy, Florida

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Lake Worth, Florida

Lynn Haven, Florida

Niceville, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Yulee, Florida

Douglasville, Georgia

Thomasville, Georgia

Naperville, Illinois

Horse Cave, Kentucky

Wickliffe, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana(3 reports)

Bossier City, Louisiana

Elm Grove, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

Slaughter, Louisiana

Vacherie, Louisiana

Zachary, Louisiana

Bishopville, Maryland

Centreville, Maryland

Port Republic, Maryland

Silver Spring, Maryland

Feeding Hills, Massachusetts

Columbia, Mississippi

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Leland, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Saint Louis, Missouri

Cato, New York

Clemmons, North Carolina

Emerald Isle, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Enid, Oklahoma

Eufaula, Oklahoma

Stilwell, Oklahoma

Portland, Oregon(2 reports)

Salem, Oregon

Greencastle, Pennsylvania

Cayce, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Florence, South Carolina

Ladys Island, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Spartanburg, South Carolina

Memphis, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Azle, Texas

Baytown, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Galveston, Texas

Nacogdoches, Texas

Round Rock, Texas

Toano, Virginia

Arlington, Washington

Arlington Heights, Washington

Bellevue, Washington

Oso, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Smokey Point, Washington

Vancouver, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 7, 2020, RedClay007 from Richmond, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Please do not plant this invasive species! It will spread far and wide from a single plant, and like may invasive plants can be hard to eradicate. The fuzz on the leaves make cutting it back a chore as it will make your skin itch and cause sneezing and coughing. I really like the tropical appearance, but like bamboo, this tropical looking plant is not worth the risk!


On Sep 4, 2015, siege2055 from Stilwell, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

My first year growing the species type in the ground, and I am pleased that it grows well under the Hickory Trees in the yard (I hate hickories grrr). Its difficult to find things that do well under them because of the Juglone they give off, Azaleas die in a few months when planted near them. I noticed today that my plant has a sucker coming up about 2 feet away in fairly dry, packed, and rocky earth, I love the way Tetrapanax looks, and am going to divide this sucker to spread in another place in the yard next spring. I can see how it would be a problem in a small area, luckily I have room for it to spread.

Update, it's now November and I got 6 potted plants from suckers from the original in the first year from a plant that started out about 8 inches tall in spring, and fin... read more


On Jul 7, 2015, Bugzilla from Cato, NY wrote:

I can understand why this plant could be more of a burden than pleasure. Our area recieves an average of 150+" of snow, and winters are long and cold; but the Tetrapanax comes back with gusto every year for the past 8 years. If it is that aggresive in zone 4-5, it must be overwhelming in warmer climates. It's a fun plant to grow and watch it slowly spread every year- but for those in warmer climates...yikes! I have learned not to cut it back/clean it up until spring, due to the noxious 'dust' it generates from the foliage and stems.


On Mar 24, 2015, MinxFox from Pensacola, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Soon after I planted this plant in 2013, I went to a house on the bay that was part of a secret gardens tour. The backyard hill that sloped down to the water was covered in a jungle consisting of this plant. It was extremely beautiful. They had a platform that you could walk out onto and get on a swing and swing out over the rice-paper forest. It was beautiful, but I felt uneasy seeing how the plant really can take over and hearing about how the owners have cut all of them only to have them quickly re-appear.

Yesterday I was pulling up babies from this plant. I was looking for a plant that would fill in and spread, and I guess I got what I was wanting. I am just worried about the nature of how it spreads. New plants will pop up very far from the original plant. It is easy to... read more


On Feb 23, 2015, meersmanbp from Tacoma, WA wrote:

Just bought one of these cool plants! Excited to see what it does. You can get these in 1gal size from Jungle Fever Exotics in Tacoma WA. $22.00.


On Apr 14, 2014, amscram from Baton Rouge, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is very attractive, but there are drawbacks, as folks have said. At my old house (raised on piers), it traveled all the way under the house and popped up on the other side! So it definitely will spread & you will need to keep it in check. The other thing is the light brown 'fluff' that covers the plant, especially the flower stalk. Even getting anywhere near that stuff always sent me into a protracted coughing fit.


On Apr 13, 2014, D3VNT from Round Rock, TX wrote:

I bought one of these from Plant Delights Nursery last spring and I was a little disappointed with how it did - never got taller than 12". Maybe I didn't treat it right, I thought. After our freezes this year, the thing looked like it died. Dead, done. So I bought another one from PDN this year. After all, maybe it was my fault.

I received my new plant on 4/6. As you might expect, I noticed a new plant sprouting near the old dead stalk that same day. I finally got the new plant in the ground yesterday. And, as you might expect, today I noticed a volunteer coming up 3 feet away from the original. Now I have three!

So, at the very least, this plant is tenacious. I'll leave my rating as 'neutral' until I see if this thing can thrive here and put on some ... read more


On Jun 19, 2013, burien_gardener from Burien (SW Seattle), WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Unfortunately, the only source for this plant I can find online is Plant Delights in SC. The plant itself is $20 in a 3.5" pot. Even scarier is shipping across the country is prohibitive no matter what you buy.


On Jun 5, 2013, TimBryant from FEEDING HILLS, MA wrote:

Also purchased the "Steroidal Giant" cultivar from Plant Delights. Is perfectly hardy here as a perennial. This species is highly invasive, and needs to be kept in check (as if it were a running bamboo !!!). My suggestion is to either grow it as a container plant, or cut out the bottom of a large bucket to contain it in the garden.

That being said, it gives a great tropical look to a temperate landscape. It could (and should) take the place of the highly toxic Ricinus. The plants are very similar in appearance.

I will be attempting to graft this plant onto a hardier rootstock, in order to maintain the stem (which turns to a dried stalk up here). Hopefully, it will also make the plant less invasive.


On Apr 21, 2013, vmr423 from Charleston, SC wrote:

Highly invasive exotic plant. My folks have this in their yard & it pushes up suckers through pavement & dislodges brick paving. Has spread from back yard all through the front & side yards & into adjoining neighbors' yards.

Recently noticed that one of our neighbors have planted this & already it is spreading in his yard.

Also highly allergenic- not many things bother me, but this plant's pollen really does make me feel ill. Supposedly attractive to bees, but the plants I've seen attract flies.

There must be some good alternatives- maybe giant cane bamboo, which is a native plant in the SE US- it's also tropical-looking, likes damp areas & will spread in some environments- good to prevent soil erosion... Or maybe Physocarpus opulifolius (ni... read more


On Oct 3, 2012, johnthelandlord from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

Great tree and very interesting to look at the growth. Spreads and makes new plants in disturbed soil via seed where I am. It can be a little bit itchy like fig tree leaves but not as bad. So, not great to handle much. I had one about 20ft tall, with a trunk of at least 9" until the wind blew it down one day. If you cut off the top of the main stem, several new shoots will appear to have more of a bushy look.


On Jul 25, 2011, skwiff from gillingham,
United Kingdom wrote:

I perchesed this plant from hamton court garden show last year and since then the pant had experienced heavy snow and frost, I think it was about -18oC and buried under two feet of snow, the plant is still growing well!


On May 6, 2010, kento from Memphis, TN wrote:

We grew two plants one summer, and they grew very well - got about five feet tall. Then found out that it can be invasive. We dug them up and put one in a pot, where it seems to be doing alright. Even without the original plants in place, we've pulled up at least a dozen suckers. It went under a fence to my neighbor's yard, so I warned her about it.
It's pretty, but be careful with it.


On Apr 21, 2010, agavebob from dade city, OH wrote:

I received the "Steroid Giant" version of this plant from Plants Delight last spring. It got about three foot tall and wide with large beautiful tropical-looking leaves. I mulched it heavily and Put a cushion of leaves around the trunk and it has now started getting leaves up the entire trunk beginning early April
Update 4/30/2010
I found a pup of the steroid giant coming up about 3 feet from last years trunk and just outside of the mulch-protected perimeter from last winter. That means that the pup/roots took -4 F without protection. I uprooted it and moved it to try it in a stightly shadier section of the garden.


On Nov 22, 2009, Keithlager from Thomasville, GA wrote:

I love it,when i moved here they were mowed and i would see them popping up arround the house.so i decided to lettem grow and loved them not knowing what they were at the time.they got so big and multiplied(spred) every where,i will dig up and replant them in different spots sometimes,or give some away.i have one by my front porch about 8/9 feet tall thats flowering and i was wondering if they have seeds.would someone tell me if they seed or just suck evrywhere?thanks Kl...oh yea i didnt see southwest(almost central)Georgia on the list.


On Oct 5, 2009, mswestover from Yulee, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I bought one in spring 08 from PDN. It is in it's second year about 2-3 ft tall now. Sucked this spring so I moved some babies to other spots in the yard. Nice plant. Under drifting shade of oaks. Likes water.


On Jan 13, 2008, macybee from Deer Park, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

From Botanica Encyclopedia:
This genus consists of one species, an evergreen, suckering shrub or small tree native to Taiwan and possibly another in Japan's Ryukyu Islands. A type of fine 'rice paper' is made from the white pith of the stems of this plant, hence both the common and species names. It is grown in temperate gardens for its very large, fan-like leaves; it works well where an exotic, tropical effect is required and space is available for its often rampant growth.
Plants do best in mild climates, in sheltered, preferably lightly shaded spots and well-drained soil. Tolerant of salt winds and sandy soil, they adapt well to seaside conditions. Water container plants freely during warmer months. Prune to remove damaged foliage and spent flowerheads... read more


On Apr 27, 2006, outdoorlover from Enid, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have been growing this plant for 3 or 4 years and I love it! Each year it gets taller. Last year it was about 4 ft tall and 5 ft wide. We have heavy clay soil, and it is growing in complete shade. I have not seen any flowers on this plant; it may be because I have not fertilized it. Each year it spreads and about 5 - 10 new plants come up from each plant the last year. I have been digging up the new plants and giving them to friends because it does so well in our area. This is one of my favorite plants because of its hardiness and self-sufficiency. It has spread to areas which get no additional watering other than mother nature.


On Apr 3, 2006, rplingaltx from Galveston, TX wrote:

I first saw this plant in Garden Design magazine last year. They were talking about a variety called, "Steroidal Giant". I am a HUGE fan of large leaved plants so I ordered one from Plant Delights Nursery. It arrived in record time and has already put out 3 new leaves. I am hoping it will get as large as some of the photos I have seen. There is a particularly amazing one on the Little and Lewis website. I think in our far southern climate it would benefit from afternoon shade. I know most large leaved plants have a hard time keeping up with the heat here in Galveston. Wish me luck! **update**
Well, it is safe to say that this plant is not salt tolerant. It was really doing well and then it was inundated in 7 feet of salt water during Hurricane Ike. It is dead. Dead. D... read more


On Apr 27, 2004, DonMobile from Mobile, AL wrote:

Grows in Mobile, AL.
Not much experience. Had them for a few years. Transplants easily ("harvested" mine from the side of the road). Spreads underground in some places AGRESSIVELY and can be a nuisance. Just pinch them off as they come up and pull out the root as much as possible. I have seen it spread 10-15 ft under pavers and rocks. I have not tried it in a planter or big pot. My nick name for these are "tropical weeds."


On Oct 5, 2003, anomina from Bradenton, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

A very attractive plant. I have sandy soil, to which I add slow release fertilizer once or twice a year. The Fatsia seems to have no objections and grows enthusiatically. It will even tolerate the once or twice we have short freezes.