Schefflera actinophylla (Endl.) Harms
Harms, H.A.T. in Engler, H.G.A. & Prantl, K.A.E. (1894) Die Naturlichen Pflanzenfamilien 3(8): 36.
Umbrella Tree; Octopus Tree
Usually grows into a tree seldom exceeding 30 cm dbh but also flowers and fruits as a shrub.
Cotyledons ovate or elliptic, about 10-12 mm long. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves with 3-6 leaflets, leaflets ovate to elliptic, glabrous, apex acuminate, mucronate, with 2-5 fine pointed teeth on each side; petiole of compound leaf about 10-15 cm long; stipules large, axillary, attached to the base of the petiole. Seed germination time 17 days.
Widespread in NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and south to south-eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1000 m. This species can grow as a normal tree but frequently grows as an epiphyte or lithophyte usually in rain forest but also in wet sclerophyll and open forest. Also occurs naturally in the Aru Islands and New Guinea. Now widely cultivated throughout the world and becoming naturalised in various places.
Usually grows as an epiphyte in the crowns of trees but will grow quite happily in the garden. This species produces large inflorescenes and infructescenes. The flowers are very popular with insects including the introduced honey bee nectar or pollen feeding birds which visit in large noisy flocks. The fruits are very popular with birds particularly the Brown Pigeon or Brown Cuckoo Dove (Macropygia amboinensis).
Fruit eaten by several species of birds. Cooper & Cooper (1994).