Pieris japonica

Pieris japonica, the Japanese andromeda or Japanese pieris, is a species of flowering plant in the heath family Ericaceae. It is native to eastern China, Taiwan, and Japan, where it grows in mountain thickets.[2] This medium-sized evergreen shrub or tree is widely cultivated in gardens.

Pieris japonica
Pieris japonica 10.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Pieris
P. japonica
Binomial name
Pieris japonica

Andromeda japonica Thunb. L.


Pieris japonica grows to 1–4 metres or 3.3–13.1 feet tall, occasionally up to 10 metres, with alternate, simple leaves on brittle stems. The leaves open bronze or red in some cultivars, turning green. The trusses of small urn-shaped flowers are white or pink, appearing early in spring, and providing a decorative effect against the young red leaves. The flowers usually last two or three weeks.

The plant is poisonous if consumed by people or animals.[3] The toxicity is a result of the grayanotoxins contained by the flowers and leaves. If flowers and leaves are ingested by humans, symptoms may include salivation, headaches, vomiting, cardiac failure, and death.[4] Cattle, goats, horses, dogs, and cats may suffer similar symptoms after ingesting the leaves or flowers of this plant.[5]

The name "andromeda" originated from an earlier genus name for the plant.


Pieris japonica is a popular temperate garden plant, producing colour in early spring. A calcifuge, it requires acid pH soil, typically in a partially shaded setting such as dappled woodland. It associates well with camellias, rhododendrons, and other lime-hating plants.


The following cultivars have received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:

  • 'Blush'[6] pink/red flowers, 2.5 m (8.2 ft)
  • 'Bonfire'[7] - pink/white flowers, 1 m (3.3 ft)
  • 'Carnaval'[8] red/pink leaves turning green edged white, white flowers, 1.5 m (4.9 ft)
  • 'Cavatine'[9] - white flowers, 0.5 m (1.6 ft)
  • 'Debutante'[10] - cream flowers, 1 m (3.3 ft)
  • 'Firecrest'[11] - foliage red to green, flowers pink 2.5 m (8.2 ft)
  • 'Flaming Silver'[12] - young red foliage turning green margined silver, 1.5 m (4.9 ft)
  • 'Mountain Fire'[13] - red leaves turning green, white flowers 4 m (13 ft)
  • 'Pink Delight'[14] - foliage bronze to green, flowers pink to white, 1.5 m (4.9 ft)
  • 'Prelude'[15] - cream/white flowers, 1 m (3.3 ft)
  • 'Purity'[16] - white flowers, 1.5 m (4.9 ft)
  • 'Sarabande'[17] - white flowers, 2.5 m (8.2 ft)
  • 'Valley Valentine'[18] - red flowers, 2.5 m (8.2 ft)


  1. ^ "Pieris japonica". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  2. ^ Fang Ruizheng, Peter F. Stevens. "Pieris japonica". Flora of China. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  3. ^ Smith, M. C. (1978). "Japanese pieris poisoning in the goat". Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 173 (1): 78–79. PMID 670056.
  4. ^ "Pieris japonica (Andromeda Japonica, Fetterbush, Japanese Andromeda, Japanese Pieris, Lily-of-the-valley Bush, Pieris) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox". plants.ces.ncsu.edu. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  5. ^ "Guide to Poisonous Plants – College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences – Colorado State University". csuvth.colostate.edu. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  6. ^ "Pieris japonica 'Blush'". RHS. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  7. ^ "Pieris japonica 'Bonfire'". RHS. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  8. ^ "Pieris japonica 'Carnaval'". RHS. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  9. ^ "Pieris japonica 'Cavatine'". RHS. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  10. ^ "Pieris japonica". RHS. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  11. ^ "Pieris 'Firecrest'". RHS. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  12. ^ "Pieris japonica 'Flaming Silver'". RHS. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  13. ^ "Pieris japonica 'Mountain Fire'". RHS. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  14. ^ "Pieris japonica 'Pink Delight'". RHS. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  15. ^ "Pieris japonica 'Prelude'". RHS. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  16. ^ "Pieris japonica 'Purity'". RHS. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  17. ^ "Pieris japonica 'Sarabande'". RHS. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  18. ^ "Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine'". RHS. Retrieved 18 January 2021.

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