Herbs, shrubs or trees, with alternate or verticillate (rarely opposite) leaves, and perfect or polygamous flowers in umbels, heads, racemes or panicles. Calyx-tube adnate to the ovary, its limb truncate or toothed. Petals usually 5, valvate or slightly imbricate, sometimes cohering together, inserted on the margin of the calyx. Stamens as many as the petals and alternate with them (rarely more), inserted on the epigynous disk; filaments filiform or short; anthers ovoid or oblong, introrse. Ovary inferior, 1-several-celled; styles as many as the cavities of the ovary; ovules 1 in each cavity, pendulous, anatropous. Fruit a berry or drupe. Seeds flattened, or somewhat 3-angled, the testa thin; endosperm copious, fleshy; embryo small, near the hilum; cotyledons ovate or oblong.

About 52 genera and 475 species, widely distributed in temperate and tropical regions. Leaves compound.

Herbs, shrubs or trees; leaves alternate, decompound; styles 5.

1.

Aralia.

Herbs; leaves verticillate, digitately compound; styles 2-3.

2.

Panax.

Leaves palmately lobed; styles 2.

3.

Echinopanax.

1. ARĀLIA [Tourn.] L. Sp. PL 273. 1753.

Perennial herbs, shrubs or trees, with alternate pinnately or ternately decompound leaves, and small polygamous or perfect flowers, in racemose, corymbose or paniculate umbels. Flowers white or greenish. Petioles sheathing at the base. Stipules none or inconspicuous. Pedicels jointed below the flowers. Calyx truncate or 5-toothed. Petals 5, spreading, obtuse, or with short inflexed points, valvate or slightly imbricate. Stamens 5.

Disk depressed. Ovary 5-celled; style 5. Fruit a small berry enclosing about 5 seeds.

[Name not explained.]

About 30 species, natives of North America and Asia. Besides the following, 2 others occur in the western and southwestern United States. Type species: Aralia racemosa L.

Umbels numerous, panicled or racemose.

Spiny shrub or tree; leaflets thick, ovate.

1.

A. spinosa.

Branching unarmed herb; leaflets thin, large, cordate.

2.

A. racemosa.

Umbels 2-7, or more, terminal or corymbose.

Plant glabrate; leaf and peduncle arising from the rootstock.

3.

A. nudicanlis.

Plant bristly or hispid; stem leafy, erect.

4.

A. hispida.