Octopus Tree

About The Octopus Tree

Schefflera actinophylla – Octopus Tree

Other Common Names: Ivy Palm,Umbrella Tree, Schefflera

Schefflera actinophylla is a fast-growing ornamental tree that belongs to the Araliaceae family and is also known as Amate, Schefflera, Umbrella Tree, and Octopus Tree. It is inherent to rainforests and gallery forests in Java, New Guinea, and Australia. It has a highly invasive behavior, especially in tropical and subtropical areas.

The Octopus Tree can grow up to 15 meters or 49 feet tall and can either have a single or multi-stemmed trunk. The bark is greenish in color and is normally plastered with leaf scars. Although they are fast-growing, Octopus trees can be fragile and prone to damages, that is why they usually do not reach their maximum height.

The leaves are palmately compound and grow mostly in 7 to 16 leaflets that can grow up to 30 centimeters. Their color is light green, with a shiny surface and an oblanceolate shape. They are alternate, with leaf stalks that grow up to 61 centimeters long.

The flowers grow on the tree tops and are shown in dense clusters. They bloom during summer and are normally pink, turning red as they mature. The width can reach up to 3 feet or 1 meter, and can resemble an octopus with its tentacles spread out, hence the name Octopus Tree.

The flowers produce round fruits that are purplish black and are 7 millimeters in diameter. They are eaten by many animals and birds, which help in pollinating them and dispersing their seeds. That is one of the reasons why the Octopus Tree poses as an ecological threat as they can be difficult to control once established and are highly invasive.