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Generally called aralia, in fact the fatsia belongs to the Araliaceae family; the genus contains little less than a dozen species of evergreen shrubs, originating in Asia; in Italy the japonica species is very widespread, originating from Japan and Korea, although recently some lesser-known species and also hybrids of fatsia japonica. This evergreen shrub, of medium size, with large leathery leaves, palate, divided into eight lobes marked by evident clear veins, was once cultivated as a houseplant in Europe, as its cultivation requirements were not known, and its appearance exotic made it perfect for large bright living rooms. For many years it has become part of the decorative shrubs for the garden, thanks to its great adaptability, even in conditions that could be adverse for most other shrubs. There fatsia over the years it assumes a roundish habit, with thin erect or arched stems, which bear the large dark and shiny leaves; the maximum dimensions are usually contained, and do not exceed 3-4 meters in height, also because the older stems tend to become increasingly weaker, while new shoots develop at the base of the stems. In spring the plant produces thin, well-branched stems, which bear some round inflorescences, consisting of many small white flowers, followed by some dark, inedible fruits. Typically the leaves of the fatsia are dark green, but there are varieties with variegated leaves of white, or even the particular variety called "Spider's web" with the foliage embroidered by a thin web of white lines, very particular.
The species of fatsia:Fatsia japonica
As we said, typically in an Italian nursery we find only this species, even the varieties and hybrids are difficult to find in our country, where the aralia is widely used in gardens, but without this it has ever made it a plant "of fashion"; rather it is a shrub that was used in a greater way until a few decades ago. And it is a pity, because the foliage is robust and very particular, the plant is completely rustic, and finds space both in the sun and in the partially shady areas of the garden, and also in heavy soils, where other shrubs may not develop at their best. In addition to this, large leaves can be used as a green element in bouquets, giving an exotic touch.
Evergreen shrub, native to Taiwan; also this fatsia can find place in the Italian gardens, but it needs a little protection from the winter frost, and prefers partially shady locations, with a good humidity. The general appearance of the plant is very similar to that of the japonica species, but the segments of the large leaves tend to be thinner, giving the whole leaf a more delicate and decorative shape. Plant not easy to find in nurseries, even in places of origin is not very widespread, as the development habitat is progressively damaged by man.
Evergreen shrub, native to some Pacific islands, widespread in nature even in the Hawaiian islands; it has palmate leaves, with lobes much wider and wider than the leaves of fatsia japonica. Plant not completely rustic, in Italy it is cultivated above all in pots, even if it is difficult to find. It enjoys semi-shady positions, and a humid and cool climate, without excessive changes in temperature during the day.