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Skimmia japonica

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
SKIM-ee-uh juh-PON-ih-kuh
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Japanese skimmia is a low, evergreen shrub that grows to 4 feet tall and as wide or wider. It provides year-round interest with evergreen leaves, showy spring flowers in clusters and red fall drupes that persist into winter. The flowers and foliage are both fragrant. You must plant 1 male plant for every 6 female plants to get good fruit production.

Plant this shrub in rich, acidic, well-drained soils in part to full shade. It prefers morning sun then dappled shade for the rest of the day. Use as a hedge, an understory shrub of large trees, or in mass plantings. It has also been used in bonsai.

Berries are poisonous in large quantities. 

VIDEO created by Ryan Contreras for “Landscape Plant Materials I:  Deciduous Hardwoods and Conifers or Landscape Plant Materials II:  Spring Flowering Trees and Shrubs” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Container Garden Pots on Hardscape
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Dwarf Male'
  • 'Fragrans'
    Male plant with white flowers
  • 'Nymans'
    Female shrub with red berries
  • 'Pabella'
    Female shrub with red fruits.
  • 'Rubella'
    Red buds open to white flowers
'Dwarf Male', 'Fragrans', 'Nymans', 'Pabella', 'Rubella'
Tags:
#evergreen#fragrant flowers#white flowers#fragrant leaves#spring flowers#winter interest#year-round interest#berries
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Dwarf Male'
  • 'Fragrans'
    Male plant with white flowers
  • 'Nymans'
    Female shrub with red berries
  • 'Pabella'
    Female shrub with red fruits.
  • 'Rubella'
    Red buds open to white flowers
'Dwarf Male', 'Fragrans', 'Nymans', 'Pabella', 'Rubella'
Tags:
#evergreen#fragrant flowers#white flowers#fragrant leaves#spring flowers#winter interest#year-round interest#berries
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Skimmia
    Species:
    japonica
    Family:
    Rutaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Asia
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Mounding
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    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:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    3/8 inch red berries appear in clusters and mature to bright red in fall on female plants. Persists into winter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    2-3 inch long terminal panicles of creamy-white to pink-tinged flowers occur in spring. The individual star-shaped flowers are 1/4-1/3 inch across and fragrant. Male plants may have larger, more fragrant flowers but female plants bear the berries.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, simple, leathery, oval medium green leaves are crowded whorl-like at end of the stems and are 2.5 to 5 in. long. Undersides yellow-green.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Lawn
    Patio
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Garden for the Blind
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heavy Shade
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    Causes abortion, cardiac arrest in large amounts. Small amounts can cause nausea.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Unknown.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits