Rice-Paper Plant
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Rice-Paper Plant
P Introduced Photo: Amber Srivastava
Common name: Rice-Paper Plant
Botanical name: Tetrapanax papyrifer    Family: Araliaceae (Ivy family)
Synonyms: Aralia papyrifera, Panax papyrifer

Rice-Paper Plant is a shrub, up to 6 m tall, with stems woody but soft, flake-like when young but gradually full when older, and with white pith in the middle. The young branches are densely covered with stellate hairs, or slightly with grayish yellow deciduous fluff. Large leaves, usually clustering in the upper stem, are palmately divided, up to 1 meter long, and with heart-shaped base, 5-7 lobed blade, stout, 30 to 50cm petiole, and 2 stipules. Flowers are small and petiolate. Most globular umbels arrange into a large cone. Drupelike berry is nearly spherical and flat. Exocarp is fleshy, hard and brittle. By the way, rice paper plant flowers, buds, root, and pollen are used for medicinal purposes too. Rice-Paper Plant is named so because it is the raw material of rice paper or pith pater, which is not only used for watercolor drawings in white sheets, but also widely dyed in many colors for making artificial flowers. But it is very seldom used for writing because of its texture. Besides, rice paper art and rice paper lamp are the relevant popular items too. Rice-Paper Plant is natove to E. Asia - China, Taiwan. Flowering: August-September.
Medicinal uses: Rice-Paper Plant is a traditionally used medicinal plant. And the main medicinal part is its long, round pith, which looks like a wick and touches like sponge or foam.

Identification credit: Amber Srivastava Photographed in University of Jammu, J&K.

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