Octopus Tree

The octopus tree is one of those non-native species that most people see as typical of a tropical climate like Hawaii. Known as Schefflera and umbrella tree on the mainland, many people recognize it as a typical house plant that grows wild here. But most mainlanders have never seen it in bloom, and right now is the season for it. This one in my neighborhood looked really photogenic, with Nounou, the Sleeping Giant, in the background:

Octopus tree (schefflera) in full bloom

In this close-up you can see that the local name comes from the shape of the flowers.

Close-up showing the red stalks of the flower spread out like octopus legs

Nevertheless, the plant is invasive and will grow readily in pastures and roadsides. It does need water, but where it finds it, it grows profusely. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to spread to easily into established forests.

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