Aralia elata - (Miq.) Seem.
Japanese Angelica Tree
Other English Common Names: Japanese Aralia
Other Common Names: Japanese angelica tree
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Aralia elata (Miq.) Seem. (TSN 184745)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.136579
Element Code: PDARA02070
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Ginseng Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Apiales Araliaceae Aralia
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Aralia elata
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 25Jul1990
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (11Oct2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Michigan (SNA), New Hampshire (SNA), New York (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA)
Canada Ontario (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CTexotic, DEexotic, ILexotic, MIexotic, NHexotic, NYexotic, PAexotic, WIexotic
Canada ONexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes
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Economically Important Genus: Y
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium/Insignificant
Rounded I-Rank: Unknown
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Aralia elata has been confused with the native A. spinosa in many states in the Northeast and is more widespread than previously thought. It's distributed throughout the US Northeast and in a few midwestern states. The Japanese angelica tree casts shade on the herbaceous layer beneath it and is believed to be displacing its native counterpart, A. spinosa. A paper on a study by researchers at the New York Botanical Garden discussing the taxonomy and ecological attributes is expected in in 2007. It is believed that this species is spreading throughout the Northeastern United States, however, it appears to be restricted to disturbed woodlands or open hillsides. It has been documented in a few undisturbed habitats. This species is spread via its seeds that are eaten by birds, and by suckering.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low/Insignificant
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Medium
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Unknown
I-Rank Review Date: 19Dec2006
Evaluator: Oliver, L.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Aralia elata is native to Asia, and specifically to Russia, China, Japan and Korea (GRIN).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: Japanese angelica tree is known as an exotic in the northeast and the midatlantic region (Kartesz 1999). It is also reported in Washington outside of Seattle (Jacobson 2001).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: This species is known in natural habitats such as forests and open hillsides (Mitchell 2001).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low/Insignificant

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: No information was found on ecological impacts, however, this species is spreading in a few states and it is assumed that there are some effects on ecological processes, either abiotic or biotic.

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Low significance
Comments: This species is a small tree and produces a 'luxuriant foliage' and 'casts a dense shade' (USDA Forest Service). It probably also affects the shrub layer too, given that it can shade shrubs and saplings.

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Low significance
Comments: It is noted that this species produces a dense shade which may suppress lower growing plants (USDS Forest Service).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Moderate significance
Comments: Aralia elata and A. spinosa, the latter being native, are difficult to distinguish from one another. It is believed, however, that A. elata is outcompeting the native A. spinosa (Wissahichon Restoration).

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Low significance
Comments: As mentioned above, A. elata is believed to be displacing the native A. spinosa (Wissahickon Restoration). It appears that this species usually invades somewhat disturbed places like disturbed woodlands, open hillsides, and shady and sunny edges (Mitchell 200, Plants for a Future1), but is has been noted to occur in forests in Pennsylvania (Wissahickon Restoration).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

6. Current Range Size in Nation:Medium/Low significance
Comments: This species is known in throughout the northeastern United States. Many specimens that were identified as Aralia spinosa in the northeast are actually A. elata, in fact, A. spinosa is not known north of Delaware and interior Pennsylvania, except for a few locations in New York (pers. comm. G. Moore). In other words, the range extent of this species is greater than previously known.

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Moderate significance
Comments: Specific information about this species causing negative impacts was found for Pennsylvania and New York (Wissahickon Restoration, Mitchell 2001), however, other sources indicate that this species is problematic across the Northeast US. One source says that this species is an invasive exotic in the Northeastern US (Plants for a Future), but the most convincing evidence comes from researchers at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. A recent study at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has concluded that this species is spreading quite a bit in the Northeast (pers. comm. G. Moore).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Japanese angelica tree is known in several biogeographic regions in the Northeastern US.

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Low significance
Comments: This species is known from disturbed woodlands (Rhoads and Block 2000), forested areas (Wissahickon Restoration) and open hillsides (Mitchell 2001).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Medium

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Spreading in New York (Jordan 2005). This species is spreading throughout the Northeast US (pers. comm. G. Moore).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance
Comments: This species is known from the midwest (Kartesz 1999), however, it appears to only be spreading in the Northeastern US.

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Birds eat the purple to black fruit of this species (USDA Forest Service) which may account for some long distance dispersal.

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Moderate significance
Comments: Spreading in New York (Jordan 2005). As mentioned earlier this species is spreading in the Northeastern United States (pers. comm. G. Moore).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Low significance
Comments: Given the habitats where this species has been found (disturbed woodlands, open hillsides) it appears that it doesn't usually invade intact healthy vegetation.

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Low significance
Comments: No information was found on habitats where this species has invaded elsewhere.

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Low significance
Comments: Aralia elata produces seeds that are distributed by birds and it also suckers from its base and spreads (USDA Forest Service).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Unknown

17. General Management Difficulty:High/Low significance
Comments: It is unknown how much of an investment it takes to control this species. It is known that it can be cut, pulled, dug up, or mowed when plants are young. It can also be controlled by use of herbicides (USDA Forest Service).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Not ranked

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Not ranked

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Not ranked
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Jacobson, A. L. 2001. Additions to Wild Plants of Greater Seattle. Available online at: http://www.arthurleej.com/wpogse.html. Accessed on Dec. 15, 2006.

  • Jordan, M. 2005. Weed spread on Long Island, NY (New York, USA). Posting to TNC Invasive Species Listserve: Digest #142 (October 2005). Online. Available: http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/listserv.html (Accessed 2005).

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Mitchell, R. S. 2001 NYFA Newsletter. Sterling Forest Flora- Summary of a Four Year Project. Available online: http://www.nyflora.org/newsletters/newsletter_43.pdf. Accessed on Dec. 19, 2006

  • Plants for a Future. Edible, medicinal and useful plants for a healthier world. Aralia elata (Miq.) Seem. Japanese Angelica Tree. Online at: http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Aralia+elata.

  • Rhoads, A.F. and T.A. Block. 2000. The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1061 pp.

  • U.S. Forest Service (USFS). 2005. Japanese Angelica Tree. Forest Health Staff, Newtown Square, PA. Invasive plants website://www.na.fs.fed.us/fhp/invasive_plants.

  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. 2005. December 9 last update. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) Online Database. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Available: http://www.ars-grin.gov2/cgi-bin/npgs/html/index.pl (Accessed 2006).

  • Wissahickon Restoration Volunteers. Invasive Plant Management. Online at:http://wissahickon.patrails.org/resources/invasive-plants/. Accessed online on Dec. 18, 2006.

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