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Re: Kalopanax

  • Subject: Re: Kalopanax
  • From: BDeyes6@aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2002 00:45:40 EST

I went on the net and looked up this tree and checked Dirr..  It sounded too good to be true.
Doesn't mention any bad things about it...only good.Says many seedlings in abundance at Arnold Arboretum. mentions variety maximowiczii with leaves cut 2/3
of the way to the center. Not much fall color.  Dirr indicates it is gaunt and not attractive in youth but becomes better as it ages.  Compares it to Sugar Maple and leaves resemble sweetgum....very disease resistant.
uncommon and hard to find
prickles or thorns on young branches .  Funny, but as it seems to seed readily, one would think to find it around more often.  Perhaps the thorns when young are a deterrent.  I think it could be a good thing for someone who is willing to wait for beauty.  I would only hope that any nursery offering it would explain it carefully to the consumer. Produces fruit readily eaten by birds...so must not be messy.  Dirr must not be very familiar with it as he does not even mention the rate of growth. 

Looking further.......Kalopanax Pictus, often known as Acanthopanax ricinifolius. Belongs to the Aralia family. 60-80 ft X60-80 ft. (also known as castor aralia) Fast grower. 6/8' tree becomes 20' in 7-9 years. Leaves resemble castor oil plant in shape and size.1/2" thorns becoming almost nonexistent as tree matures. Likes moist soil deep enough to accommodate it's long root structure.

I checked five books in all and that is about all it says.  So glad you asked as I have never heard of it.  Sounds like a tree you will rarely see in your lifetime. 


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