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Gold Dust Aucuba japonica

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Gold Dust:

Phonetic Spelling
aw-KYOO-bah jah-PON-ih-kah
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Aucuba japonica, commonly called spotted laurel, is a rounded, shade-loving, evergreen shrub with fantastically variegated leaves.  It prefers soils that are high in organic matter and evenly moist in partial to full shade but will tolerate poor soils and urban conditions like air pollution.  It typically grows to 6-10' (infrequently to 15') tall, unless pruned shorter.  

Plants in this genus are dioecious meaning they have male and female flowers on separate plants.  If planted near each other, the female plants producing showy red fruits in the winter providing year-round interest. 

It is very easy to transplant or propagate from seed or stem cuttings.  It is often grown as a houseplant in temperate climates requiring cool room temperatures of 50-65 degrees F.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Indoor plants may suffer from spider mites.  Outdoor plants occasionally suffer from scale, nematodes, and mealybugs.  Fungal leaf spot, southern blight sometimes occur,  Heavy or overly moist soils cause root rot.  Foliage is susceptible to windburn or sun-scald so plant in a protected area.

Profile Video:
Cultivars:
  • 'Nana'
    Dwarf cultivar is compact, 3' x 3', slow grower; foliage green with dusting of yellow.
  • 'Sulphurea Marginata'
    Large yellow margined leaves
  • 'Variegata'
Tags:
#evergreen#showy flowers#houseplant#variegated#drought tolerant#heavy shade#shade shrub#salt tolerant#interiorscape#variegated foliage#variegated leaves#hedge#interesting leaves#clay soil#air pollution tolerant#playground#year-round interest#showy fruits#cpp#children's garden#shade#winter intrest#leathery#rounded#speckled
Cultivars:
  • 'Nana'
    Dwarf cultivar is compact, 3' x 3', slow grower; foliage green with dusting of yellow.
  • 'Sulphurea Marginata'
    Large yellow margined leaves
  • 'Variegata'
Tags:
#evergreen#showy flowers#houseplant#variegated#drought tolerant#heavy shade#shade shrub#salt tolerant#interiorscape#variegated foliage#variegated leaves#hedge#interesting leaves#clay soil#air pollution tolerant#playground#year-round interest#showy fruits#cpp#children's garden#shade#winter intrest#leathery#rounded#speckled
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Aucuba
    Species:
    japonica
    Family:
    Garryaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    East Asia and Japan
    Distribution:
    Native to moist woodland areas, thickets, valleys and along streams. Austria, China South-Central, China Southeast, North Carolina, Spain, Washington
    Play Value:
    Buffer
    Wind Screen
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Dense
    Erect
    Rounded
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Red, ellipsoid, one-seeded, berry-like drupes (to 1/2”) which ripen in fall, and provide interest through spring
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Cross
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Tiny purple-maroon flowers with creamy white anthers bloom in early spring (March-April). Each flower has four sepals and four petals. Plants in this genus are dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants). Male flowers are upright terminal panicles or cymes up to 4 1/2” long. Female flowers appear in the leaf axils. and are shorter than male flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    medium to dark green leaves elliptic to ovate (8” long) with marginal teeth on the upper half of each leaf, young leaves exposed to sun will blacken
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Fleshy stem that makes propagation easy.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Heavy Shade
    Pollution
    Salt
  • Poison:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Nausea, vomiting, possible fever
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Aucubin, a glycoside
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits
    Leaves