Nandina is a genus of flowering plants in family Berberidaceae, with Nandina domestica as its sole member. It is commonly known as Heavenly Bamboo or Sacred Bamboo. Nandina is native to eastern Asia from the Himalaya east to Japan.

Despite its common name, Nandina is not a bamboo at all. It is an evergreen or semi-evergreen suckering shrub with numerous, usually unbranched stems growing from the roots. The young leaves are brightly colored pink to red before turning green, and old leaves turn red or purple before falling. White flowers are borne in early summer in conical clusters held well above the foliage. The fruits are bright red berry 5-10mm in diameter, ripening in late autumn and often well through the winter. All parts of the plants are poisonous, containing hydrocyanic acid and can be fatal if digested. The berries also contain nantenine but birds are not affected by these toxins and the seeds will be dispersed through their droppings.

Widely grown as ornamental plants, Nandina is also a good ground cover. In Japan, where it is a popular plant, over 60 cultivars have been named. It grows well in full sun or partial shade and requires moderate to low water. Propagation is by ripe seed and semi-ripe cuttings in summer.

Nandina domestica Nandina domestica
Author: BotBln (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

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