This is a plant I saw recently at the University of SC in Columbia. It has small black berries but I don’t see any flower buds. I love the look of the leaf and wondered what it was.
This is not a native plant, but it is rather often cultivated in South Carolina. It is Fatsia japonica, sometimes called the ‘rice paper plant’. A very nice, evergreen, relatively slow growing and problem free species. It is distantly related to ginseng, Panax quinquefolius. As you suggest, it is usually grown for its attractive leaves. I hope this helps!
Steve Hill – South Carolina Native Plant Society [SCNPS]
Dr. Steven R. Hill
University of Illinois