English name: Dwarf umbrella tree
Latin name: Schefflera arboricola
Family: Aralia - Araliaceae
Origin: Hainan Island (China), Taiwan
This evergreen shrub, with climbing stems, grows up to 4 metres tall. The dark green, glossy, palmate leaves, in clusters of 7 to 9, grow from petioles 10-20 cm. long. The flowers gather at the end of a complex inflorescence, a panicle with small umbels (umbrella-shaped flower heads). The fruits are spherical berries up to 5 mm. in diameter; they are orange but may turn purple or black, on stalks with a length of 3 to 6 mm. It is cultivated in China as a medicinal plant; in countries with climates such as Poland’s, it is a popular potted plant. However, it contains substances that can irritate the skin and mucous membranes.