Aralia californica (Elk Clover)
Alphabetical Plant Listing

Aralia californica (Elk Clover)

California Spikenard, Elk's Clover, Elk Clover


Aralia californica (Elk Clover) is a large deciduous perennial plant with thick stems bearing huge, pinnate or bipinnate, green leaves, up to 6 ft. long (180 cm) and 3 ft. wide (90 cm). Borne at the top of tall, arching, non-woody stems, the compound leaves, with their 3-5 leaflets, form an umbrella-like canopy. They turn a lovely gold color in the fall and die to the ground. Topping the umbrella are prominent clusters, 12-18 in. across (30-45 cm), of showy greenish white flowers in summer and early fall. They attract many pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and other insects. The blossoms are followed by showy purple-black berrylike fruits on bright pink fruiting stalks in the fall. Many bird species and mammals feast on them. Native to California and southwestern Oregon, Elk Clover is found in moist and shady spots, at elevations below 6500 ft (2000 m), including redwood, Douglas fir, and/or pine forests, mountain slopes and valleys, at the edge of forests, along river banks, shaded streams, creeks, and ravines. Elk Clover can be planted as a specimen, at the back of a shrub border or along woodland margins.

  • Grows up to 6-10 ft. tall and wide (180-300 cm).
  • Thrives in part shade to full shade in neutral to acidic, moist, well-drained soils. Tolerates a wide range of soils, including serpentine soils. Shelter from strong winds to protect the large leaves
  • It is a great candidate for shrub borders, woodland edges
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Keep an eye out for leaf spots, aphids, mealybugs. Deer resistant.
  • Propagate by seed or by root cuttings.
  • Native to California and Oregon.

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Requirements

Hardiness 7 – 9
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Exposure Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 6' – 10' (180cm – 3m)
Spread 6' – 10' (180cm – 3m)
Spacing 72" – 120" (180cm – 300cm)
Water Needs Average, High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Pacific Northwest, Oregon
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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Udo Schmidt, John Rusk (Flickr)

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 7 – 9
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Exposure Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 6' – 10' (180cm – 3m)
Spread 6' – 10' (180cm – 3m)
Spacing 72" – 120" (180cm – 300cm)
Water Needs Average, High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Pacific Northwest, Oregon
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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