False Aralia tree - Schefflera elegantissima

The observations in this post are from a number of adult “Shefflera elegantissima” trees in the city of Malaga. Most of the information that I have found on the internet related to this tree as a potted plant or indoor tree. The only thing I know about the use of this tree species as a potted plant is that the leaves are quite a bit different on young trees than they are on adult trees (see images below).

The leaves of this tree are similar to in size and shape to those of the Schefflera actinophylla (Umbrella tree) except that they have a pronounced serration and tend to be a bit darker tone of green.

The flowers of the False Aralia are large and branch off into multiple clusters of little ball like blossoms, with 5-7 in each cluster. These little green balls then turn into little black balls which I believe is the fruit. The flowers are not very sightly and tend to look more like a tangled web than anything else.

I´ve photograped a tree that I believe is about a big as this species normally grows. It was about 25-30 feet tall (7-9 meters). As you can see from the image the form of the tree has filled out into a pretty normal “tree-like” shape with a main trunk and branches. Most of the younger trees that I have seen tend to have multiple stems and very little branching.

The difference between the leaves on a young tree vs. an adult tree is that the leaves of the young tree are very slender (1/2 inch wide - 1.5-2.5 cm) while those of adult trees are wider (about 3 inches wide (10cm)).

The young trees tend to be tall slender stems with slender leaves and can be very attractive as indoor plants.

This tree is related to the Umbrella tree and the Dwarf Umbrella tree


  1. Thank You Dan, for educating me. I thought that this plant was strickly a house plant. Now, I know that in the correct climate it can also function as a tree.

    Small World, You in Spain and I in the U. S. A. and we both appreciate one rather unique plant.

  2. Dan, could you educate me too? I specially made blog on blogger.com to write to you :)
    I have no idea how to publish here my photos from Mexico I have trouble with.
    So I put them on my friend site http://zdjecia.wonder.pl/view_album.php?page=4&set_albumName=rodzina
    Page 3 and 4. You can comment there ([dodaj komentarz]) or write koziorozka a.t chello.pl
    Would you be so kind and help me, please?

  3. does anyone know of a site that tells you how to care for a false aralia tree? i believe i have one and i am having difficulties in caring for it. i have been searching the web and can not seem to find much info on this tree. HELP

  4. I have a schefflera genus plant, though I have been searching for hours trying to find the species.
    It grows like a snake through the air, not straight up like the rest of them, toward the room and then just around the area above the pot.
    Nine leaves as well as eight;
    The leaves appear waxy, though do not have the normal shape of a stem going through the center of the leaf: rather, like a pad.
    It also responds to the television being on, one branch extending toward and touching the top. It jumps from the static when I shut the television off.

  5. Nice blog. I was looking for this kind of information. Thanks and keep it up .!