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Oplopanax japonicus - (Nakai.)Nakai.

Common Name
Family Araceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards The plant is densely armed with spikes and these spikes are irritant[200]. Although no specific mention has been seen for this plant, it belongs to a genus where the species are usually rich in calcium oxylate, this is toxic and if consumed makes the mouth and digestive tract feel as though hundreds of needles are being stuck into it. However, calcium oxylate is easily destroyed by thoroughly cooking or drying the plant.
Habitats Moist woods, especially by streams[11] and usually in rich soils[99].
Range E. Asia - Japan.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade
Oplopanax japonicus


Oplopanax japonicus

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Oplopanax japonicus is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft 10in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Young shoots - peeled and then cooked[46, 61, 105, 106]. Only the very young shoots are used[172]. The roots can be chewed after peeling[105, 106, 161].

Medicinal Uses



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Analgesic;  Antiphlogistic;  Antirheumatic;  Hypoglycaemic;  Tonic.

The root bark and stems are analgesic, antiphlogistic, antirheumatic, hypoglycaemic and tonic[172].

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

Requires a cool moist soil[11, 200]. Prefers a position in light shade[182]. Prefers dense shade and is probably best if grown in moist woodland[1, 11]. Tolerates maritime exposure[200]. (Rather a strange report for a plant that needs to be grown in dense shade[K]) A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to at least -15°c, but the young shoots in spring can be damaged by late frosts[11, 200]. It is therefore best not grown in a frost pocket[182]. This species used to be included in O. horridus as the Japanese form of that species, but it has recently (1991) been recognised as a distinct species[200]. A very ornamental plant, but it is densely armed with spikes[60]. It transplants easily and also tolerates pruning[200]. The leaves and stems are excessively spiny[182].

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Propagation

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the autumn[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Root cuttings in a greenhouse in the winter[188].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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

 

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Expert comment

Author

(Nakai.)Nakai.

Botanical References

1160200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

david c. smith   Sun Sep 9 2007

Oplopanax japonicus and the Alaskan Oplopanax horridus appear to be identical species. DAVID C. SMITH, Box 100558, Anchorage, Alaska.We have been evaluating Oplopanax species for about 8 years.

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Subject : Oplopanax japonicus  
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