ivy tree is a common evergreen plant in hong kong. you can see them easily in parks and countryside. check out trees with leaves arranged like duck feet (only that each foot is of seven or eight digit); the chinese common name of this plant is duck-feet tree.
i have visited the countryside quite often in the last two years during autumn and winter. as they are so universal i have paid no attention to this plant at all.
fortunately, in the past saturday, an interpreter i respect a lot reminded me the specialities of this plant.
ivy trees blossom in winter, making them a darling in the wild, as insects and birds feed on them. and human too. one important source of our winter honey is the nectar of this plant.
the flowers are in beige and clusters; in a distance they are not flashy enough. only if you observe them closer, it is easy to discover the structural beauty. look at how neat and discipline the buds shape; and when the flowers bloom, the petals and stamens are in radiation pattern.
the value of the ivy tree is not limited to these. the dark purple round berries feed forest birds and small animals in the winter. the bark of the stem and root is one of the ingredients of our popular 24-herbal tea.
鴨腳木 ivy tree (schefflera heptaphylla) – 植物界 plantae kingdom | 被子植物門 magnoliophyta division | 雙子葉植物綱 magnoliopsida class | 傘形目 apiales order | 五加科 araliaceae family | 鵝掌柴屬 schefflera genus | 種：鵝掌柴 s. octophylla species wiki