Scientific Name: Schefflera actinophylla
Synonym: Brassaia actinophylla
Common Names: Octopus Tree, Umbrella Tree, Ivy Palm, Schefflera
Duration: Perennial, Evergreen
Growth Habit: Tree
Hawaii Native Status: Introduced. This naturalized ornamental garden plant and houseplant is native to Australia and New Guinea.
Flower Color: Red, Pink
Flowering Season: Summer
Height: To 40 feet (12 m) tall. This plant is very fast-growing, but it is weak and prone to damage, which limits its height.
Description: The 3 foot (1 m) wide flower clusters emerge above the foliage and look like an octopus with splayed tentacles. The flowers open greenish pink and then turn red. The flowers are followed by blackberry-like, purplish black fruits. The leaves have long, sturdy stalks and are alternate and palmately compound with 5 to 18, shiny green, oval to oblong leaflets. The multiple trunks are slender and covered in leaf scars.
Here in Hawaii, Octopus Tree is a weed in lower elevation areas with moderate rainfall.
When blooming, this plant is unmistakable, but when not in bloom, it is somewhat similar to Trumpet Tree (Cecropia obtusifolia) but has green on the undersides of the leaves instead of white like Trumpet Tree.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Araliaceae – Ginseng family
Genus: Schefflera J.R. Forst. & G. Forst. – schefflera
Species: Schefflera actinophylla (Endl.) Harms – octopus tree
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