Photinia serratifolia

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Photinia serratifolia
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Photinia
P. serratifolia
Binomial name
Photinia serratifolia

Photinia serratifolia (syn. Photinia serrulata), commonly called Taiwanese photinia[2] or Chinese photinia is a flowering shrub or tree in the flowering plants family Rosaceae, found in mixed forests of China, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and India.[3]

Photinia serratifolia


The tree is evergreen, with white flowers emerging in spring accompanied by red-colored leaves, and red fruits growing in autumn. It grows typically 4–6 m (13–20 ft), sometimes up to 12 m (39 ft), tall.[3] Its leaves are toxic due to the presence of cyanogenic glycosides.[4] The flowers, blossoming in spring, typically last for one to two weeks. Its flowers are known to have a strong scent similar to that of human semen. The flowers have bell-shaped sepals split into five lobes, and around 20 stamens. The Ovary contains two to four locules, with one ovule in each locule. The tree produces a high amount of bright, red colored fruits that are small pomes with diameters ranging from 4–12 millimetres (0.16–0.47 inches), each containing one to four seeds. The fruits, which ripen in autumn and survive through winter, are a food source to various kinds of birds, including thrushes, waxwings, and starlings. The seeds spread primarily through bird excretions.[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The tree is typically found at altitudes from sea level to 2,500 metres (8,000 ft). It is found in mixed forests of central and southern China, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and India.[3]


Three varieties of the species are recognized in the Flora of China:[3][5]

  • Photinia serratifolia var. ardisiifolia. Narrow leaf variant native to Taiwan, typically found around 850m altitude. Leaves are obovate (reverse ovate), ellipse-shaped, and leathery in texture.
  • Photinia serratifolia var. daphniphylloides. Wide leaf variant native to Taiwan. Leaves are elliptic or long obovate.
  • Photinia serratifolia var. lasiopetala. Native to Taiwan. Leaves are obovate, slender, or spoon-shaped.


Flowers of Photinia serratifolia

The tree is widely used as a greening plant in some mainland Chinese cities, due to the relative ease to plant and maintain, and the tree being less demanding for its surrounding environments. In Wuhan, where the tree is in its native range, the tree is planted by the sides of all major avenues, as well as in the Wuhan University. However, due to the strong, semen-like odor from its flowers filling the entire city in spring, some Wuhan residents have complained that the tree should be removed and other trees should be planted instead.[6][7]


  1. ^ "Photinia serratifolia". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  2. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Photinia serratifolia". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e Lu, Lingdi; Spongberg, Stephen A., Flora of China entry for Photinia serratifolia, vol. 9, Missouri Botanical Garden & Harvard University Herbaria, p. 125, retrieved April 19, 2019
  4. ^ K. A. Jacobs; F. S. Santamour Jr.; G. R. Johnson; M. A. Dirrs (September 1996). "Differential Resistance to Entomosporium Leafspot Disease and Hydrogen Cyanide Potential in Photinia" (PDF). J. Environ. Hort. 14 (3): 154–157.
  5. ^ "Photinia serratifolia". Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  6. ^ "石楠花的委屈谁懂?专家:它是优秀的园林绿化物种(组图)_网易新闻". (in Simplified Chinese). 2016-04-15. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  7. ^ "武大石楠花气味怪 砍树?入药? 两不宜 - 长江商报官方网站". 2012-04-19. Retrieved 2019-04-10.