This species is known as tara-no-ki in Japan where the young shoots are harvested and then tempura fried. It is also used in China and Korea. Harvest the shoots young (6 inches or less) to avoid the prickles on the petioles and peel the stems if any appear to have developed. One of the few edible foliage trees. Pruning is done to keep the plant in a more vegetative state and reduces flowering. Usually the plant is topped which forces the side branching. This improves the yield dramatically and makes the shoots easier to blanch and more succulent. If you do not do this the plants will tend to grow tall to 20 ft. or so.
Our Korean strain is a smaller medium sized plant that has reached 15 ft. tall after 20 plus years. This species does produce stolons but not extensively and it has not self seeded at our farm. Fruit production is usually light. After 20 years of growing this plant we have discovered it does not spread via seed and is not invasive but the root sytem can be extensive much like staghorn shumac to some extent. This plant is grown in pots and has a deep root system. Keep in mind this plant looks more like a perennial at first and eventually will take on a woody shrub type growth in its first year after transplanting. so the plants have good roots when you get them but not much of a top. That is how they grow.
|Genus & Species||Aralia elata|
|Seed Source||Seed selection that is smaller than the species with good foliage retention in the summer.|
|Hardiness||-20 or more|
|Pollination Requirements||None. Produces a small blue fruit in big clusters like elderberry.|
|Soil||Thrives in disturbed soils and other areas where the soil has been exposed. Seeds are distributed by birds.|
|Climate||Zone 4ish to zone 9|
|Ease of Cultivation||Very easy to grow. Yields would have to be managed by pruning and allowing lots of side branching similar to elderberry as the tree tends to grow upright and runner a little bit like shumac. Harvest the young shoots and blanching appears to be the method most often used to make this woody plant not just edible but delicious.|