Photinia serrulata

28 Oct

Photinia serrulata (04/10/2015, Kingston Maurward Gardens, Dorchester)

Photinia serrulata (04/10/2015, Kingston Maurward Gardens, Dorchester)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Moist, well drained

Flowering period: Spring

Eventual Height: 6m

Eventual Spread: 5m

Hardiness: 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b

Family: Rosaceae

Photinia serrulata is an evergreen shrub with a compact upright habit. Its dark green leathery leaves are narrowly elliptic with serrate margins, up to 22cm long and 6.5cm broad. Its leaves emerge purple/ bronze in spring. Its small white flowers appear terminally in compound corymbs which are up to 16cm across. The flower fragrance is disagreeable to some people. Its berry like fruit are ovoid, initially re maturing to brown/ purple and are up to 6mm across.

Photinia serrulata Leaf (04/10/2015, Kingston Maurward Gardens, Dorchester)

Photinia serrulata Leaf (04/10/2015, Kingston Maurward Gardens, Dorchester)

Photinia serrulata, commonly known as Taiwanese Photinia, Chinese Photinia or Chinese Hawthorn, is native to Taiwan, China, Japan Philippines, Indonesia and India. In its native habitat it grows in mixed forests. It should be noted that all members of the Photinia genus are poisonous to grazing animals. Photinia serrulata is synonymous with Photinia serratifolia.

The etymological root of the binomial name Photinia is derived from the Greek photeinos meaning ‘shining’ in reference to its glossy leaves. Serrulata is derived from the Latin serrula meaning ‘little saw’, referring to the leaf margins in this plant.

The landscape architect may find Photinia serrulata useful as as an attractive multi stem evergreen tree like specimen. It also makes an attractive evergreen hedge with spring leaf interest. The new growth may be damaged by a late frosts so a sheltered position is advised.

Photinia serrulata New Leaf (04/10/2015, Kingston Maurward Gardens, Dorchester)

Photinia serrulata New Leaf (04/10/2015, Kingston Maurward Gardens, Dorchester)

Ecologically, Photinia serrulata flowers are attractive to pollinating insects. Its leaves are attractive  to the larvae of some species of Lepidoptera.

Photinia serrulata prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil, including very alkali.

Photinia serrulata requires little maintenance. If grown as a hedge it should be cut when the new growth has lost its colour. This plant can be trimmed up to three times a year to encourage new red growth, although pruning is not advised after mid August.

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