Schefflera heptaphylla (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Schefflera heptaphylla (L.) Frodin

Protologue: Bot. Journ. Linn. Soc. 140: 314 (1990).


Vitis heptaphylla L. (1771), Schefflera octophylla (Lour.) Harms (1894).

Vernacular names

  • Laos: ko tan
  • Vietnam: chân chim, nam sâm.


Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Indo-China, the Philippines (Batan Island), southern China, Taiwan, the Ryukyu Islands and southernmost Japan.


The bark is widely used in folk medicine for its diuretic properties and as a tonic. The ashes are sometimes used to treat dropsy. In Hong Kong the fresh branchlets are used as a wash to soothe itching of the skin.


A small to medium-sized, semi-deciduous or evergreen tree up to 25 m tall, bole up to 80 cm in diameter; leaves palmately 6-8(-11)-foliolate, polymorphic, petiole 8-35 cm long, leaflets elliptical to ovate-elliptical, 7-20 cm × 3-6 cm, base attenuate, apex narrowly pointed, margin entire, glabrous, petiolules unequal, 1-5 cm long; inflorescence a well-developed panicle with hairy branches; flowers in many-flowered umbellules or sometimes solitary at the top of secondary axes; flowers 5-merous, ovary 5-8(-10)-locular; fruit globular, 3-4 mm in diameter, black. S. heptaphylla is found in relatively open forest and forest edges. In southernmost Japan it occurs near sea-level; in the Ryukyu Islands up to 600 m elevation. Southward in the tropics its maximum altitude rises to 1200(-1400) m, or it even becomes entirely montane. Its distribution corresponds with the 20°C average January isotherm. Exploited from wild sources as well as from cultivation, this species can probably be grown easily at higher elevations in the Malesian region.

Selected sources

363, 435, 884, 1035, 1070, 1126, 1128, 1314, 1416, 1417, 1418, 1419, 1526.


Nguyen Tap & M.S.M. Sosef