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Pieris (plant)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pieris japonica
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Subfamily: Vaccinioideae
Tribe: Lyonieae
Genus: Pieris
Late spring foliage on Pieris

Pieris (/ˈp.ərɪs/ or /ˈpɪərɪs/[1])[2] is a genus of seven species of shrubs in the flowering plant family Ericaceae, native to mountain regions of eastern and southern Asia, eastern North America and Cuba. Known commonly in North America as andromedas or fetterbushes, they are broad-leaved evergreen shrubs growing to 1–6 metres (3 ft 3 in – 19 ft 8 in) tall and 3–10 ft (0.9–3.0 m) wide. The leaves are spirally arranged, often appearing to be in whorls at the end of each shoot with bare stretches of shoot below; they are lanceolate-ovate, 2–10 cm (0.8–3.9 in) long and 1.0–3.5 cm (0.4–1.4 in) broad, leathery textured, and with an entire or serrated margin. The young leaves in spring are typically brightly coloured. The flowers, which may have a very appealing honey scent, are bell-shaped, 5–15 mm (0.2–0.6 in) long, white or pink, and arranged in racemes 5–12 cm (2.0–4.7 in) long. The fruit is a woody capsule which splits into five sections to release the numerous small seeds.

Pieris species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the engrailed.

The genus name derives from Pieria, a place in Greece, according to Greek mythology the home of the Muses.[1]



They are commonly grown as ornamental plants, valued for year-round interest due to bright red new growth in early spring, chains of small, white flowers in mid-spring, and buds that remain on the plant through the winter. Numerous cultivars have been selected for different spring foliage colour. They grow best in a shady spot, sheltered from drying, winter winds. They prefer acidic soil, and should be mulched once per year, using a two-inch covering of either peat or composted pine needles. The flowers give the plant one of its alternative names, 'Lily of the valley shrub' (though Pieris is not closely related to Convallaria).


The following cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:-[3]


Pieris floribunda (mountain fetterbush) has been noted as highly toxic.[17][18]


  1. ^ a b "Oxford Languages | The Home of Language Data". languages.oup.com.
  2. ^ "Pieris". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  3. ^ "AGM Plants – Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 78. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  4. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Pieris japonica 'Blush'". Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  5. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Pieris japonica 'Cavatine'". Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  6. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Pieris japonica 'Debutante'". Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  7. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Pieris 'Firecrest'". Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  8. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Pieris 'Flaming Silver'". Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  9. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Pieris 'Forest Flame'". Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  10. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Pieris japonica 'Mountain Fire'". Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  11. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Pieris japonica 'Pink Delight'". Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  12. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Pieris japonica 'Prelude'". Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  13. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Pieris japonica 'Purity'". Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  14. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Pieris japonica 'Sarabande'". Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  15. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine'". Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  16. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Pieris formosa var. forrestii 'Wakehurst'". Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  17. ^ Pieris japonica Archived 2013-01-04 at the Wayback Machine North Carolina State University "Poisonous Plants of North Carolina" online reference]
  18. ^ "Pieris floribunda (Fetterbush, Mountain Andromeda, Mountain Fetter-bush, Mountain Pieris) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox". plants.ces.ncsu.edu.

External links[edit]

Media related to Pieris at Wikimedia Commons