Octopus Tree
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Octopus Tree
ntroduced Photo: Venugopalan Cheriyaveettil
Common name: Octopus Tree, Queensland Umbrella Tree, Brassaia
Botanical name: Heptapleurum actinophyllum    Family: Araliaceae (Ivy family)
Synonyms: Schefflera actinophylla, Brassaia actinophylla

Octopus Tree is an erect shrub or small tree growing up to 12 m tall. The tree grows with multiple trunks, each topped with a small crown of large showy leaves. The compound leaves form an umbrella shaped rosette which gives the tree the common name Umbrella Tree. The flowers of this tree are even more amazing than the tree. Ten to fifteen long stalks of bright red flowers appear right on top of the tree. These racemes can be up to 2 m long. The flowers are followed by round dark berries. Many people grow Octopus Tree as a house plant where it stays in a small, rarely exceeding a couple feet in height, and never blooming. is native to northern Australia and southeastern New Guinea. This tree has become one of the most popular of indoor house plants.

Identification credit: Tony Rodd, Dinesh Valke Photographed in Bangalore.

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