TAANG LUANG

Also Known As
ENGLISH NAMES:
Snowflake Aralia
Snowflake Plant
Snowflake Tree
BHUTAN
Phutta [16] 
Torma Laga Shing [16] 
CHINA:
Ci Tong Cao (刺通草).
INDIA: (according to Flowers of India)
Assamese: Bhotola. Bhutula. [13]
Garo: Chena thong
Khasi: Dieng soh kynthur
Mizo: Kawhte-bel
THAILAND:
Taang Luang [12]
ETYMOLOGY: According to SMR Growers, "The genus name Trevesia was described by the Italian botanist Roberto de Visiani (1800-1878) in 1840 to honor the family Treves of the Bonfili of Padua, who were great supporters of botanical research. The specific epithet was actually from a name described earlier by the Scottish botanist William Roxburgh (1751-1815) who had described this plant as Gastonia palmata and its specific name transferred with it to Trevesia in 1842 when Visiani segregated Gastonia. This specific epithet is in reference to the leaves being palmately lobed." [1]
SYNONYMS: According to a Singapore government website: "Gastonia palmata, Brassaiopsispapayoides, Fatsia cavaleriei, Plerandra jatrophifolia, Trevesia cavaleriei, Trevesia palmata var. costata." [7] 


Order:   Apiales
Family:   Araliaceae
Genus:    Trevesia
Species: palmata

Florida s

Edible Parts
Flower Caution
Other Uses
Medicinal Fragrant Cordage
A few years back I read about a tree named the Snowflake Tree which yields edible flower buds. Last year, Thai vendors at the Mustang Market near St. Pete who had eaten the cooked flower buds in their homeland as children told me to look out for it. They called it Taang Luang. Well, I did some research... The book Wild Edible Plants of Assam (India) tells us that the "flower buds are eaten cooked by Garos and Bodos in (the) Kamrup area." On a recent guided tour at ECHO, the public edible gardens in North Fort Myers, I saw a tree labelled "Snowflake Tree" with buds adorning the branch tips! A quick check online and it was confirmed... I had found the elusive Taang Luang! Lucky for us edible flower hunters, each umbel is said to contain "25-45 flowers." "It "is indigenous to northern India, southern China, Vietnam and Thailand" as well as "Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia." The very large, beautiful, deeply lobed (pseudocompound) leaves are the reason that the most common name in the U.S. is Snowflake Tree. The tight clusters of small, fragrant, white to yellow flowers mature into small 1/2" round fruits. I have found websites from China, Singapore, and India that all mention that this tree is used medicinally, but they gave no details. I will have to delve deeper. The inner pith of the stems has been made into hats in India. CAUTION: The fruits are poisonous, being used as a fish poison in India. Be careful when handling the leaf stems (petioles) or when leaning on the trunks as they have small sharp spines on them. 



CAUTION: The fruits are used as a fish poison in India, and should be avoided! Be careful when handling the leaf stems (petioles) or when leaning on the trunks as they have small sharp spines on them. 
EDIBLE FLOWER BUDS: According to the website Local Vegetables of Thailand, "Young flower buds, available by the end of rainy season, are eaten after cooked with hot and spicy curry. The taste is somewhat bitter. No cultivation of this plant has been recorded." [12] Wild Edible Plants of Assam (India) states, "Flower buds are eaten cooked by Garos and Bodos in Kamrup area." [14] Cornucopia II also mentions that its flower buds are edible after cooking. [6]
USEFUL PITH: "The plant also has a useful pith." [5] "The pith from the stems can be used to make 'sola-pith' hats." [8] 
MEDICINAL USES: It is listed as a medicinal plant on both the Flora of China [5] and a website from Singapore. [7] It is also mentioned as a medicinal plant on the website Flowers of India and in by the French Institute of Pondicherry with no details given. [10, 15]
MEDICINAL STUDIES: A study published in the Journal of Natural Products states that "antiproliferative activity was demonstrated by the crude saponin fraction" within this species. Antiproliferative: "of or relating to a substance used to prevent or retard the spread of cells, especially malignant cells, into surrounding tissues." - dictionary.com
INDOOR HOUSEPLANT: Logee's Greenhouses sell this species as a houseplant. [3]
AS A FISH POISON: "The fruits are used as fish-poison. The paste of pounded fruits is mixed into the water of stream and ponds. This stupefies the fish, facilitating an easy catch." [15, via 13] 

More Details

NATIVE RANGE: It "is indigenous to northern India, southern China, Vietnam and Thailand." [1] According to Useful Tropical Plants it is also native to "Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia.' [5] "Eastern Himalayas, from Nepal to Assam, Burma, W. China, Malaya." according to Flowers of India. [10] 

DESCRIPTION

A large shrub or tree with "a loose, broad canopy." [1] With "few or no side branches." [1] "White pubescent stems." [1]
CAUTION: The trunks have small sharp spines on them.
HEIGHT: 15-20'. [1] 30' in the wild. [1]
WIDTH: 8-12'. [1]
LEAF STEMS (PETIOLES): Prickly, handle with care. [1]
LEAVES: Very large. Glossy. Deeply lobed (pseudocompound), appearing like snowflakes, hence the most common name here in the U.S. 1-2' wide. [1]
FLOWERS: Small, white or yellow. [1,14] Bisexual. [7] Polygamous. [13] Fragrant. [11] The umbels are "25-45-flowered." [13]
FLOWERING SEASON: Spring. [1] In India, they bloom from February through April. [14]
FRUITS: Small 1/2" round fruits in tight clusters. [1]
FRUITING SEASON: During May in India. [14] 

CULTURE

HARDINESS: garden.org ranks it hardy down to 30F (USDA zone 10A) and into tropical zone 12. [11]
LIGHT: "Full sun" or "light shade / part sun." [1] It "thrives in low light conditions.: [3]
SOIL: "Grows best in a deep, rich, fertile soil." [6]
WATER: Moderate. [1]
DROUGHT TOLERANCE: Once established, they can become quite drought tolerant. [1]
PROPAGATION: Seeds, air layering, greenwood cuttings. [9 etc.] Hardwood cuttings. [12] 


Flowering Calendar
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D


Flower Color
Yellow
Flowering Type
Hermaphroditic

Fruiting Calendar
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D


Native?
Non-Native


Plant Form
Woody Evergreen Perennial Understory Tree
Height
20 feet
Width
12 feet
Rate of Growth
Moderate


Hardiness Zone
10a to 12b
Root Hardiness
25°F
Damaging Temp.
30°F
Light
Part Sun Full Sun
Tolerances
Drought Tolerant



Sources for acquiring

SMR GROWERS: On their website they mention that they sell "the selection "Micholitzii" which has newly emerging leaves that retain white downy hairs then become glossy." 


References

[1] SMR Growers 
[2] Wikipedia 
[3] logees.com 
[4] Outlaw Garden Blog 
[5] Flora of China 
[6] Cornucopia II 
[7] Flora Fauna Web, a Singapore government website 
[8] The Commercial Products of India, via Tropical Useful Plants 
[9] Useful Tropical Plants 
[10] Flowers of India 
[11] garden.org 
[12] Local Vegetables of Thailand 
[13] indiabiodiversity.org 
[14] Wild Edible Plants of Assam, via 13 
[15] French Institute of Pondicherry 
[16] Bhutan Biodiversity Portal 
[17] "Antiproliferative Triterpene Saponins from Trevesia palmata," an article in the Journal of Natural Products, Italy, 2000. 
Last Updated: February 1, 2019