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Tetrapanax papyrifer - (Hook.)K.Koch.

Common Name Rice Paper Plant, Chinese Rice Paper Plant
Family Araliaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Hillsides in mixed forests and shrub thickets at elevations of 100 - 2800 metres[147, 266]. Subtropical forests[260].
Range E. Asia - China, Taiwan.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Tetrapanax papyrifer Rice Paper Plant, Chinese Rice Paper Plant

Tetrapanax papyrifer Rice Paper Plant, Chinese Rice Paper Plant


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Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early fall, Late fall, Mid fall. Form: Rounded, Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Tetrapanax papyrifer is an evergreen Shrub growing to 5 m (16ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower in August, and the seeds ripen from October to December. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Aralia papyrifera. Fatsia papyrifera.


Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root
Edible Uses:

Root[105, 177]. No more details are given.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Diuretic  Febrifuge  Galactogogue  Sedative  Vermifuge

The pith is deobstruent, diuretic, febrifuge, galactagogue, sedative and vermifuge[147, 218]. It is used in Korea in the treatment of oedema[279].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


The inner pith of the stems is used to make 'rice paper'[1, 46, 61, 171]. It is also used for making toys and flowers, for surgical dressings and for painting on[61]. The paper is made by cutting thin slivers from long sections of the pith[218].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Massing, Specimen, Woodland garden. Succeeds in any fertile soil[182, 200] and in most situations[200]. Prefers a moist but well-drained humus-rich soil in full sun or semi-shade[188]. The plant requires a sheltered position in order to prevent damage to its large leaves[260]. Plants are not very hardy outdoors in Britain and are normally best grown in a cool greenhouse[1], but in selected sites they can tolerate temperatures down to about -5°c[166, 200]. They are often cut back to ground level in cold winters but will normally regrow from the rootstock in the spring[200]. The plant can, in fact, become invasive, spreading by means of a vigorous suckering rootstock[200]. Plants are growing well at Menehay in Cornwall[59]. A young specimen was seen at Hilliers Arboretum in April 1999. It had about 3 years of growth above ground and was growing in a sheltered but fairly sunny position with no sign of die-back[K]. Even more established plants can be found growing by a south-facing wall against a greenhouse at Cambridge Botanical Gardens. They had at least 4 years of growth above the ground in spring 1999 and were spreading at the roots[K]. Plants are much cultivated in China for the pith obtained from the stems, which is used to make 'rice paper'[46, 266]. A very ornamental plant[200], it is closely related to Fatsia japonica[182]. The flowers are produced in autumn and are often damaged by frosts[182]. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Naturalizing, Attractive flowers or blooms.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Seed - sow autumn in a greenhouse[200]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on for at least their first year in the greenhouse. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Consider giving the plants some protection from winter cold for their first few years outdoors[K]. Division of suckers in the early spring. They can be difficult to establish[200]. It is probably best to pot up the divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse until they are well established. Keep them in the greenhouse for their first winter then plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

kabelo   Tue Sep 9 2008

My neighbour has the tetrapanax papyrifera plant in his garden. It has started to root under the brick paving in my garden and thereby destroying my paving. Could you advise how I could control it so that it does not destroy my paving?

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