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Umbrella Tree Facts

Wonderful But Little-known Facts About Umbrella Trees

Umbrella tree or Umbrella plant may refer to five disparate types of trees. Each of these differ as far as their stems, leaves, fruits, and region of growth are considered. Have a look.
Abhay Burande
Last Updated: Mar 16, 2018
The term 'umbrella' in umbrella trees or plants is used to refer to the typical structure of leaves these plants possess. Their leaves are umbrella-shaped or cluster to form an umbrella-like canopy. We will take you through the different plant species this term may refer to.
Facts about Umbrella Trees
Umbrella tree may mean one of the following:
  • Schefflera actinophylla
  • Magnolia tripetala
  • Terminalia catappa
  • Musanga cecropioides
  • Polyscias murrayi
Schefflera actinophylla
  • It is a tree in the Araliaceae family. It is also called the Octopus tree.
  • The tropical rainforests in Australia (eastern Queensland and the Northern territory), Java and New Guinea abound with these species.
  • The tree can grow up to 15 meters. It is evergreen and has compound medium green leaves in clusters of seven.
  • This tree depends for mechanical support on other rainforest trees.
  • The tree is multi-trunked and flowers bloom at the treetop. Inflorescences having a length of 2 meters and enclosing almost 1000 small dull red flowers, are part of the tree.
  • This flowering starts in early summer and continues for many further months. The flowers have a large quantity of nectar. This entices honey-eating birds.
  • The fruits of this tree are devoured by several birds and animals like Musky Rat Kangaroos, Red-legged Pademelons and Spectacled Flying Foxes. The Bennett's Tree-Kangaroo likes to consume the leaves.
Magnolia tripetala
  • It can be categorized as a deciduous tree.
  • It is found in the Appalachian mountains in the southeastern United States.
  • The large shiny leaves are 30-50 cm in length and the stems are stout. In autumn, the leaves become yellow.
  • The tree can grow to a height of 15 meters. The flowers are 15-25 cm in diameter. These have a large red style and 6-9 creamy-white petals. The fruit is red and 10 cm in length. This has many red seeds.
Terminalia catappa
  • It is a large tropical tree and may have originated in India, Malay peninsula or New Guinea. It is also called the Indian almond, Bengal almond, Malabar almond, Tropical almond, Sea almond or Singapore almond.
  • This tree can grow to a height of 35 meters. When full-grown, it has an upright, symmetrical crown and horizontal branches. As it ages, the crown flattens to have a spreading, vase finish.
  • The leaves are 15-25 cm in length and 10-14 cm in breadth. They are leathery, glossy dark green, ovoid and broad. The color becomes pinkish-reddish or yellow-brown just before falling.
  • The flowers are 1 cm in diameter, white to greenish in color and are seen on axillary or terminal spikes. The fruit is 5-7 cm in length and 3-5.5 cm in breadth. Its color changes from green to yellow to red. It contains a single seed.
Musanga cecropioides
  • It is the African Corkwood tree found in secondary forests. It is also called the Parasolier, Doe, kombo-kombo, musanda, N'Govoge, musanga and Govwi.
  • This tree is generally found in Africa from Sierra Leone to Angola and eastward to Uganda.
Polyscias murrayi
  • It is also known as Umbrella Tree, White Basswood or Pencilwood. These trees are found in New Guinea and also over the Victoria State border, in New South Wales and in parts of Queensland.
  • It grows to a height of 25 m and has a trunk of a diameter of about 50 cm which is smooth grayish-brown. The cylindrical trunk branches at a random height and the forked structure of the branches supports a leafy crown.
  • Leaves are alternate and pinnate. They have 8-30 leaflets, with each leaflet pair having a visible gland in between.
  • The tree flowers in the months of February and March bearing creamy green flowers. The fruits of this tree are two or three-lobed blue drupes.
Umbrella Plant Facts
This term may mean one of the following:
  • Darmera peltata
  • Podophyllum peltatum
  • Cyperus alternifolius
  • Schefflera arboricola
  • Eriogonum longifolium
Darmera peltata
  • It is also called Indian rhubarb.
  • In late spring, the flowers bloom before the leaves. These flowers have rounded cymes of many five-petalled white to bright pink flowers.
  • The leaves are coarsely-toothed, deeply lobed, rounded, dark green and conspicuously veined. These become red in autumn.
Podophyllum peltatum
  • It is found in the eastern part of North America.
  • The stems are 30-40 cm tall. The leaves are 20-30 cm in diameter with 5-9 deeply cut lobes.
  • This tree is also called the mayapple, Hogapple, wild lemon, American mandrake, Devil's apple, Indian apple or wild mandrake.
Cyperus alternifolius
  • This plant is found in Madagascar and in the Indian Ocean.
  • Its common names include umbrella papyrus, umbrella sedge and umbrella palm.
  • It belongs to the Cyperaceae family. It is grass-like and grown as a houseplant. It is used as an ornamental plant and grown in pots or ponds. Its leaves form an umbrella-like cluster.
Schefflera arboricola
  • It is an evergreen shrub. It may grow to a height of 3-4 meters. It is commonly known as the Dwarf umbrella.
  • The leaves have 7-9 leaflets. Each leaflet is 9-20 cm long and 4-10 cm broad.
  • The umbels are 7-10 mm in diameter and have 5-10 flowers.
Eriogonum longifolium
  • It is also called Harper's umbrella plant or Harper's buckwheat.
  • For a long period it remains in an immature stage and eventually develops a flowering stalk. Then, it flowers and perishes.
  • Tennessee and Kentucky are the areas where its survival is doubted.