Herb latin name: Oplopanax japonicus

Family: Araceae (Arum Family)

Medicinal use of Oplopanax japonicus:

The root bark and stems are analgesic, antiphlogistic, antirheumatic, hypoglycaemic and tonic.

Description of the plant:


3 m
(9 3/4 foot)


Habitat of the herb:

Moist woods, especially by streams and usually in rich soils.

Edible parts of Oplopanax japonicus:

Young shoots - peeled and then cooked. Only the very young shoots are used. The roots can be chewed after peeling.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Root cuttings in a greenhouse in the winter.

Cultivation of Oplopanax japonicus:

Moist woods, especially by streams and usually in rich soils.

Known hazards of Oplopanax japonicus:

The plant is densely armed with spikes and these spikes are irritant. Although no specific mention has been seen for this plant, it belongs to a genus where the species are usually rich in calcium oxylate, this is toxic and if consumed makes the mouth and digestive tract feel as though hundreds of needles are being stuck into it. However, calcium oxylate is easily destroyed by thoroughly cooking or drying the plant.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.