Dwarf umbrella tree

Dwarf umbrella tree

Schefflera arboricola

Common Name:

Dwarf umbrella tree

Scientific Name:

Schefflera arboricola

Alternative common names:

Hawaiian umbrella tree, arboricola tree (English).


The dwarf umbrella is an evergreen tree with dark green leaves that fan out into an umbrella form, which makes it ideal for use as a bonsai with a dense canopy. It is often used in forest plantings. The leaflets are arranged in a whorl around the leaf stem, giving the plant its common name. The number of leaflets increases as the plant ages.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?


What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 3.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

How does it spread?

Seedlings may germinate in the crotches of large trees, and, in this case, the plant will grow as an epiphyte until its roots reach the ground.

Why is it a problem?

It is shade tolerant and invades disturbed or undisturbed forests and coastal bushland. The roots are somewhat invasive and can block plumbing joints and pipes as well as damage footpaths and building foundations.

What does it look like?

Leaves: Alternate, dark green often variegated cream or yellow, leathery, shiny above, palmate, 7-11 leaflets, obovate to elliptic, 110 x 45mm, margins entire. Petiole 100-150mm long, petiolules 10-30mm long.

Flowers: Yellowish-green, produced in a 200mm terminal panicle of small umbels, each umbel 7-10mm across with 5-10 flowers in autumn and winter.

Fruit/seeds: Drupe, orange turning black, ovoid, about 5mm long.

Does the plant have any uses?

Used as a low maintenance indoor potted plant. Where winter hardy, it is commonly used as a specimen/accent, hedge or container plant.

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