Schefflera Arboricola - Hawaiian Elf Schefflera. (Plant Palette)

Article excerpt

As mid-winter is upon the land and all but evergreen trees and shrubs are laid bare or reduced to their simplest form, a diversionary escape is in order. A trip to the tropics and memories of warmer times is the perfect antidote to the January blues.

A glimpse of the lush and opulent Schefflera arboricola may produce the desired effect. Native to the Taiwanese tropics but called the Hawaiian elf schefflera, this lovely tree makes a bold statement and may be used indoors very successfully when temperatures dip below those found in Western Garden zones 23-24 where it commonly thrives. Of course, Hawaiian zones inspire its greatest potential.

A member of the Araliaceae family, which is distinguished in part by leaves that resemble a hand with its fingers widely spread, Schefflera arboricola bears three-inch-long leaflets on a long stem. Each leaflet broadens before tapering to a narrow tip. Young Schefflera arboricola will have about six leaflets; but, as they grow, leaves become thicker and quantity increases to 11. They are a glossy vibrant green that are guaranteed to evoke thoughts of forays into the warm jungle climates.

Variegated leaves are available. Yellowish flower clusters appear in the spring and bronze as they age. …