Three species of Fatsia originate from Japan, Taiwan, North and South Korea. Shrubby, with lobed leaves, evergreen and clusters of white flowers, followed by black berries, late in the year, extending through winter. Providing a valuable food source for insects. F. japonica is long grown in the UK, often used as very tolerant of shade and pollution. F. polycarpa is more recently in UK cultivation, with less glossy leaves and deeper lobes. Very useful for creating that tropical effect.

Looking very similar to the flowers and fruits of native ivy, the flowers are similarly attractive to insects and the fruits to birds. The flowers are open in early autumn, a key time for insects either getting in a last bout of reproduction or just about to head into hibernation: either way they are much visited by bees (possibly including the ivy bee), wasps and butterflies such as red admiral. The berries are a vital late-winter food source for garden birds such as blackbirds and blackcaps, filling the cruel winter gap after most other berries have been stripped from the landscape.

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