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Aucuba japonica1.jpg
Aucuba japonica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Garryales
Family: Garryaceae
Genus: Aucuba

See text.

Aucuba is a genus of three to ten species of flowering plants, now placed in the family Garryaceae, although formerly classified in the Aucubaceae or Cornaceae.

Aucuba species are native to eastern Asia, from the eastern Himalayas east to Japan. The name is a latinization of Japanese Aokiba.[1] They are evergreen shrubs or small trees 2-13 m tall, similar in appearance to the laurels of the genus Laurus, having glossy, leathery leaves, and are among the shrubs that are mistakenly called laurels in gardens.[2]

The leaves are opposite, broad lanceolate, 8-25 cm long and 2-7 cm broad, with a few large teeth on the margin near the apex of the leaf. Aucubas are dioecious, having separate male and female plants. The flowers are small, 4-8 mm diameter, with four purplish-brown petals; they are produced in clusters of 10-30 in a loose cyme. The fruit is a red berry 1 cm diameter.


Three species (A. chinensis, A. himalaica, A. japonica) have traditionally been accepted, but the recent Flora of China accepts ten species:


  1. ^ Alice M. Coats, Garden Shrubs and Their Histories (1964) 1992, s.v. "Aucuba".
  2. ^ "With characteristic perversity, we deny the name of laurel to the only member of that genus that we cultivate—Laurus nobilis—which we call the Bay, and bestow it on a number of totally unconnected shrubs", observes Alice M. Coats.

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