Common Name: wheel tree
Origin/Ecology: Native to Japan, southern Korea and Taiwan.
Habit: Evergreen tree or large shrub growing to 20 m tall.
Leaves: Leaves borne in tight spirals at apex of years’ growth, each leaf leathery dark green, simple broad lanceolate, 6-14 cm long and 3-8 cm broad, with crenate margin. Each leaf is a different size.
Leaf Arrangement: alternate
Flowers and Fruit: Flowers are produced 10-20 together in a racemose cyme 5-13 cm diameter. Each flowers is 15-18 mm diameter, yellowish green, without petals, but with a conspicuous ring of 40-70 stamens surrounding the 4-11 carpels. Fruit is 2 cm diameter, woody, star-shaped, composed of 4-11 follicles, each follicle containing several seeds. Little cap on fruit splits open revealing a cup of seeds (“rain cup”) and seeds are dispersed by raindrops.
Water Use, Soil: Mildly acidic soil, moist, fertile, well-drained loams. Needs consistent moisture and tolerates wet soils, but intolerant of drought.
Exposure: Part shade. Tolerates close to full shade.
Landscape Uses: Specimen.
Limitations: Not drought tolerant.