Upright shrub. Leaves in cultivated plants mostly in the juvenile phase. Leaf stalk to 80 cm long. Leaflets 7-16, oblong-obovate, thick, entire, 8-30 cm long, 4-8 cm wide. Flower cluster twice compound. Flowers pink to red. Ovary chambers 10-12. Fruit round, red becoming black. [Brassaia actinophylla Endl.]
Tropical Australia, New Guinea
Widely planted in NSW, less so in SA and with a few specimens in Vic and Tas, as a tropical-looking garden plant, occasionally as a street tree. Naturalised in a few coastal spots in NSW.
NSW: Redfern (Redfern Park); Sydney (Royal Botanic Garden Sydney).
Source: (2002). Araliaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 4. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 3. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.
Leaves thicker and resistant to disease.
The Umbrella Tree has traditionally been grown from seed but plants are prone to leaf disease, producing blackening and other symptoms. In the 1980s at the Kraft Nursery, Fort Lauderdale, USA, a single healthy plant with thicker leaves was observed in a batch of diseased plants. This was selected and reproduced by tissue culture and is now sold in the USA, Europe and Australia.