Skimmia is a genus of four species of evergreen shrubs and small trees in the Rue family, Rutaceae, all native to warm temperate regions of Asia. The leaves are clustered at the ends of the shoots, simple, lanceolate, 6–21 cm long and 2–5 cm broad, with a smooth margin. The flowers are in dense panicle clusters, each flower small, 6–15 mm diameter, with 4-7 petals. The fruit is red to black, 6–12 mm diameter, a fleshy drupe containing a single seed. All parts of the plant have a pungent aroma when crushed.[1] The botanical name, Skimmia, is a Latinization of shikimi (シキミ, 樒), which is the Japanese name for Illicium religiosum as well as an element in miyama shikimi (ミヤマシキミ, 深山樒), the Japanese name for Skimmia japonica.

Skimmia reevesiana1.jpg
Skimmia japonica subsp. reevesiana
Scientific classification


See text

Skimmia with berries
Skimmia japonica in blossom
Skimmia japonica Inflorescence.
Species and subspecies[2]
  • Skimmia anquetilia N.P.Taylor & Airy Shaw. Western Himalaya to Afghanistan. Shrub to 2 m.
  • Skimmia arborescens T.Anderson ex Gamble. Eastern Himalaya to southeast Asia. Shrub or small tree to 15 m.
  • Skimmia japonica Thunb. Japan, China. Shrub to 7 m.
    • Skimmia japonica subsp. distincte-venulosa (Hayata) T.C.Ho
    • Skimmia japonica var. lutchuensis (Nakai) T.Yamaz.
    • Skimmia japonica subsp. reevesiana (Fortune) N.P.Taylor & Airy Shaw
  • Skimmia laureola (DC.) Decne. Nepal to Vietnam and China. Shrub or small tree to 13 m.
    • Skimmia laureola subsp. lancasteri N.P.Taylor
    • Skimmia laureola subsp. multinervia (C.C.Huang) N.P.Taylor & Airy Shaw

Skimmias are fed on by aphids, Horse Chestnut Scale, Garden Leafhopper, and Southern Red Mite.


Skimmias are grown as garden plants for their foliage, flowers, and showy red fruits. They are grown in shade, with moist, well-drained, humus-rich soils. They are tolerant of both drought and air pollution. A large number of cultivars have been selected for garden use:[1]

  • Skimmia japonica 'Emerald King'
  • Skimmia japonica 'Fragrans'
  • Skimmia japonica 'Godrie's Dwarf'
  • Skimmia japonica 'Keessen'
  • Skimmia japonica 'Kew White'
  • Skimmia japonica 'Nymans'
  • Skimmia japonica 'Rubella'
  • Skimmia japonica 'Rubinetta'
  • Skimmia japonica 'Ruby Dome'
  • Skimmia japonica 'Wanto'
  • Skimmia japonica 'White Gerpa'
  • Skimmia japonica 'Veitchii'
  • Skimmia japonica subsp. reevesiana 'Ruby King'
  • Skimmia × confusa 'Kew Green' (S. anquetilia × S. japonica)


  1. ^ a b Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  2. ^ Plants of the World Online