Prickly Castor Oil Tree
About this Prickly Castor Oil Tree
Kalopanax septemlobus is a large, deciduous tree, widely distributed in eastern Asia (including China, Korea, Russia and Japan), it was first described by C.P. Thunberg in 1784 - based on specimens collected on his important visit to Japan. Seed of the tree was first introduced to Europe by the Russian botanist C.J. Maximowicz in 1865, and was reintroduced from western China (Hubei) by Ernest Wilson.
Widely cultivated for its timber in China, the bark of the Kalopanax septemlobus also has a range of medicinal properties, including as an antifungal and to help protect the liver. A deciduous tree, Kalopanax septemlobus is characterized by fearsomly prickly stems, and late winter buds which open up into maple-like leaves, in lush shades of dark green. Its delicate, white flowers emerge in late summer, and are popular with bees and other insects. In the wild it can grow to 30 m in height.
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