Fivefinger, five finger, whauwhaupaku
Panax arboreus Murray, Panax arboreus Murray var. arboreus, Neopanax arboreus (Murray) Philipson var. arboreus, Pseudopanax arboreus (Murray) Philipson
Vascular – Native
Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
2n = 48
Current conservation status
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley.
2012 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Small bushy tree with glossy green fleshy toothed leaves arranged in fans of 5 (occ. up to 7) leaflets. Fruit purple, in obvious clusters
Endemic. Widespread (though rare in Central Otago). North and South Islands
Coastal to montane (10-750 m a.s.l.). Moist broadleaf forest. Frequently epiphytic. A frequent component of secondary forest. Streamsides and forest margins.
Us. Dioecious. Small multi-branched tree to 8 m tall, branches and branchlets brittle. Leaves alternate, leaflets 5-7 (us. 5), palmate. Petioles c. 15-20 cm long, sheathing branchlet at base. Petiolules c. 3-5 cm long, pale green. Leaflets obovate-oblong to oblong-cuneate, thinly coriaceous, coarsely serrate-dentate, acute or acuminate to obtuse; midveins and main lateral veins obvious above and below; teminal lamina 10-20 x 4-7 cm. Inflorescence and panicle, terminal, compound; flowers usually unisexual; 8-20 primary rays (branchlets), up to 10 cm long; 15-20 secondary rays; umbellules with 10-15 flowers in each. Calyx truncate or obscurely 5-toothed; flowers c. 5 mm diam., sweet-scented; petals 5, white to pink flushed, ovate to triangular, acute; stamens 5, obvious, filaments c. = petals; ovary 2-loculed, each containing 1(-2) ovules; style branches 2, spreading. Fruit fleshy, 5-8 mm diam., style branches retained on an apical disc, very dark purple, laterally compressed. Seeds 2(-3) per fruit, wrinkled, 3-6 mm long.
Similar to other Pseudopanax species, but has a greater number of leaflets borne on distinct petiolules. Vegetatively similar to Schefflera digitata (pate) which has thinner, finely serrate and larger leaflets with usually 7 leaflets per leaf.
June to August
August to February
Easy from fresh, cleaned, seed
Not Threatened. In places the petiolules of Pseudopanax arboreus (and other fleshy-leaved Pseudopanax species) are a conspicuous element of possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) diet and the forest floor can become littered with discarded leaflets.
pseudopanax: False cure
arboreus: From the Latin arbor ‘tree’, meaning tree-like
This species was transferred back to Neopanax Allan by: Frodin, D.G.; Govaerts, R. 2003: World Checklist and Bibliography of Araliaceae, The Cromwell Press, European Union.
Description adapted from Allan (1961) and Webb and Simpson (2001).
References and further reading
Allan, H.H. 1961. Flora of NZ, Vol. I. Government Printer, Wellington
Webb, C.J. & Simpson, M.J.A. 2001. Seeds of NZ gymnosperms and dicotyledons. Manuka Press, Christchurch.