Heptapleurum actinophyllum
Octopus Tree (Schefflera actinophylla) at Hyderabad, AP W 283.jpg
In Hyderabad, India
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Heptapleurum
H. actinophyllum
Binomial name
Heptapleurum actinophyllum
(Endl.) Lowry & G.M.Plunkett
  • Brassaia actinophylla Endl.
  • Brassaia singaporensis Ridl.
  • Schefflera actinophylla (Endl.) Harms

Heptapleurum actinophyllum (formerly Schefflera actinophylla) is a tree in the family Araliaceae.[1][2] It is native to tropical rainforests and gallery forests in northern and north-eastern Queensland coasts and the Northern Territory of Australia, as well as New Guinea and Java. Common names include Australian umbrella tree, Queensland umbrella tree, octopus tree and amate.


Heptapleurum actinophyllum is an evergreen tree growing to 15 m (49 ft) tall. It has palmately compound medium green leaves in groups of seven leaflets. It is usually multi-trunked, and the flowers develop at the top of the tree.[3] It often grows as a hemiepiphyte on other rainforest trees.[4]: 43  It produces racemes up to 2 m (6.5 ft) long containing up to 1,000 small red flowers. Flowering begins in early summer and typically continues for several months.

The specific epithet actinophyllum means "with radiating leaves".[5]


The up to 1,000 flowers produced by the plant generate large amounts of nectar, attracting nectar-eating birds that pollinate them. The fruits are eaten by many birds and animals including musky rat-kangaroos, red-legged pademelons and spectacled flying foxes.[6] Its leaves are a favourite food of the Bennett's tree-kangaroo.[7][verification needed][4][8]: 105 


It is commonly grown in mild to warm climates as a decorative tree in larger gardens and, when mature, it has red spikes of flowers with up to 20 racemes which develop in summer or early autumn. Propagation is by seed or cuttings. It prefers well-drained soil and only needs occasional watering and feeding to thrive. It is, however, an aggressive plant and its roots can dominate surrounding soil. In some areas (e.g., Florida and Hawaii, USA), it is an invasive weed and therefore planting is highly unadvised.[9]

With a minimum temperature of 13 °C (55 °F), juvenile specimens are grown in temperate regions as houseplants.[10] This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[11][12]



  1. ^ a b "Heptapleurum actinophyllum (Endl.) Lowry & G.M.Plunkett". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  2. ^ "Heptapleurum actinophyllum". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  3. ^ Plantnet.rbgsyd: Detailed description of Schefflera actinophylla
  4. ^ a b Martin, Roger. 2005. Tree-kangaroos of Australia and New Guinea. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Vic., Australia. ISBN 0-643-09072-X.
  5. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315.
  6. ^ Beasley, John. (2006). Plants of Tropical North Queensland: The Compact Guide. Footloose Publications, Kuranda, Australia. ISBN 1-876617-13-6.
  7. ^ Pers. comm. Lewis Roberts OAM
  8. ^ Beasley, John. (2009). Plants of Cape York: The Compact Guide. John Beasley, Kuranda, Qld., Australia. ISBN 978-0-9806863-0-2.
  9. ^ Hawaii's Most Invasive Horticultural Plants : octopus tree Schefflera actinophylla
  10. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
  11. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Schefflera actinophylla". Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  12. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 95. Retrieved 5 November 2018.