Japanese Angelica Tree

Aralia elata

Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Aralia (uh-RAY-lee-uh) (Info)
Species: elata (el-AH-tuh) (Info)



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

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)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer


Grown for foliage



Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Denison, Iowa

Bel Air, Maryland

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Helena, Montana

Cheltenham, Pennsylvania

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Desoto, Texas

Seattle, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 28, 2015, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

I don't know why someone brought this plant back from Japan to the Philadelphia area when the American species does grow there too and is a little prettier because the latter's flower clusters are upright and terminal while the Japanese flower clusters are more lateral and don't show as well. I found this plant growing around in some spots of the Philadelphia area.


On Mar 13, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This aggressive plant from east Asia has escaped to wild areas from Philadelphia to New York and Long Island. The Pennsylvania DNR, the National Park Service, and the US Forest Service have all been concerned about it invading natural areas. Birds eat the fruit and distribute the seeds widely in the landscape.

It is frequently (and understandably) confused with the closely related but less aggressive native Hercules' walking club, Aralia spinosa. If you want to distinguish them, check out http://www.nybg.org/files/scientists/rnaczi/Mistaken_Identit... There may be hybrid forms.


On Apr 17, 2011, BenDee from London, England,
United Kingdom wrote:

We have this tree in parks in England too.
It doesn't spread that badly at all but yes is is not child friendly!
One interesting fact about the tree is how good it tastes!
My father in law is Japanese and he picks at this time of year (late spring early summer, while it is new in flower) and cooks them in tempura. They taste delicious, a little like mild asparagus and he assures me they are very good for you.


On Nov 12, 2007, Ickyrivet from Springfield, OH wrote:

This tree is considered an INVASIVE WEED and Pennsylvania has banned this plant. It spreads rapidly by runners and seeds. While it is pretty there doesn't seem to be a natural predator for this plant.
This information was obtained as a 'Weed of the Week' on the internet. I hope this tree doesn't become as big a problem as the Japanese honeysuckle has become in our area of Ohio.


On Sep 23, 2007, myabbydog from Seattle, WA wrote:

See BIRDS & BLOOMS (magazine)October/November 2007 - page 15.
Growing in Sedro Woolley WA which is about 50 miles north of Seattle. Fall and Spring photos which aren't submitted by grower- but it looks beautiful.


On Aug 23, 2005, grikdog from St. Paul, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I don't think of this tree as a weed. If you don't like it use some round up. It does sucker but not uncontrollably. I grew mine from seed. I think it has sort of a graceful tropical effect that you don't get much of in Minnesota.

My two plants are about 3 years old and 4-5 ft tall.


On Feb 25, 2005, nayls142 from Cheltenham, PA wrote:

The previous owner of my house let Aralia Elata sucker into a thicket about 10 feet by 40 feet along one side of the back yard. The largest stems are about 4" around and 18-20' tall. When I cut them, they grew back. I had fresh leaf growth into mid-october. I've finally resorted to cutting the stems, and using a truck to pull the stumps out whole.

This tree is a vile weed, with thorns sharp enough and long enough to peirce leather work gloves, and a foul smell, similar to "tree-of-heaven." Once the giant bi-compound leaves fall, the stems look like midevil tourture devices.


On Nov 9, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant can either be a shrub or a tree. It is deciduous and often has suckers at the base of the tree. It isn't especially picky about soil conditions and grows rather quickly.