This relative of the ivy is thriving in the borders in the front of the Palm House.
The ricepaper plant, Tetrapanax papyrifera, is the only species within the genus Tetrapanax . In the wild it has a limited distribution, occurring only in southern China, where it spreads by suckers to form thickets in woodlands. It is of borderline hardiness, preferring a sheltered location, as it has here. It is mainly grown for its large lobed leaves, which are densely felted beneath, though it will produce flowers if conditions are good. The white flowers emerge in autumn and winter and are produced in panicles to 50cm long. If these get through the winter they will produce clusters of small, spherical fruits. A member of the Araliaceae family, the flowers of the ricepaper plant are highly attractive to bees, as is also the case with the familiar ivy.