Description from Flora of China
Agalma Miquel; Heptapleurum Gaertner; Sciodaphyllum P. Browne.
Shrubs or trees, sometimes climbers or epiphytes, evergreen, hermaphroditic or andromonoecious, unarmed. Leaves palmately compound, rarely unifoliolate (not in China), margins entire to serrate; stipules united within petiole. Inflorescence a terminal or pseudo-lateral panicle or compound raceme; flowers arranged in umbels, heads, or racemes; bracts pubescent, deciduous or persistent. Pedicels not articulate below ovary. Calyx rim entire or 5-toothed. Petals 5-11, valvate. Stamens 5-11. Ovary (4 or)5-11-carpellate; styles partly or completely united into a column or stigmas sessile. Fruit a drupe, globose or ovoid. Seeds (4 or)5-11, laterally compressed; endosperm uniform or slightly ruminate.
Several recent phylogenetic studies have shown that Schefflera is clearly polyphyletic (Lowry et al., S. Afr. J. Bot. 70: 382-392. 2004; Plunkett et al., Pl. Syst. Evol. 245: 1-39. 2004; Plunkett et al., Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 92: 202-224. 2005) and that the Asian species belong to a single, well-supported, morphologically coherent clade. The name Schefflera will ultimately have to be restricted to a small group of species from the SW Pacific while the Asian species will have to be transferred to one or more other genera.
We were unable to treat Schefflera cavaleriei (H. Léveillé) Frodin (World Checklist Bibliogr. Araliaceae, 330. 2004 ["2003"]; Heptapleurum cavaleriei H. Léveillé, Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 9: 326. 1911) because the original description is not sufficiently detailed to associate the name with any of the species recognized here, and we were unable to locate the type material, which was collected in Guizhou according to the protologue.
Nearly 1100 species: widely distributed in tropics and subtropics of both hemispheres; 35 species (14 endemic) in SW and SE China.