Aralia cordata

Aralia cordata, Photo: Michael Lahanas

Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Divisio: Magnoliophyta
Classis: Magnoliopsida
Ordo: Apiales
amilia: Araliaceae
Subfamilia: Aralioideae
Genus: Aralia
Species: Aralia cordata

Name

Aralia cordata Thunb.

References

* USDA, NRCS. 2006. The PLANTS Database, 6 March 2006 (http://plants.usda.gov).

Data compiled from various sources by Mark W. Skinner. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

* Fl. jap. 127. 1784
* USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. [1]

Aralia cordata, Photo: Michael Lahanas

Vernacular names
English: Japanese Spikenard
Polski: Aralia Sercowata

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Aralia cordata is an upright herbaceous perennial plant growing up to 2-3 m in height, native to Japan, Korea and eastern China. It is known as Udo (Japanese: 独活) in Japanese, and also as Japanese Spikenard. It commonly is found on the slopes of wooded embankments.

Growth

The leaves are alternate, large, and double to triple pinnate with leaflets 7-15 cm long and 5-10 cm broad. The flowers are produced in large umbels 30-45 cm diameter in late summer, each flower small and white. The fruit is a small black drupe 3 mm diameter.

Medicinal uses

The stem can be eaten and is sometimes boiled and served in miso soup. The roots are sometimes used for herbal medicines.

Despite its size, it is not a woody plant, as demonstrated in the popular saying Udo no taiboku (Japanese: 独活の大木), literally "great wood of udo", meaning roughly useless as udo has a very soft stem.

Udo is often mistaken to be shishiudo (Angelica pubescens, in the family Apiaceae).

Can also be used in "udowormy" when the udo plant has been infected by the pupae stage of the Japanese beetle. The leaves from these infected plants are highly sought after to make "udowormy" tea, which has proved to be beneficial in relieving stress.

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