Skimmia japonica
Common Name: japanese skimmia
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Rutaceae
Native Range: Japan, China
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Creamy white
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Fragrant, Evergreen
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Heavy Shade


Best grown in moist, humusy, organically rich, moderately fertile, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Performs well in sun-dappled conditions. Foliage may scorch in full sun. Propagate by cuttings. Shrub is dioecious (separate male and female plants). One male for every six females will produce a good fruit set.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Skimmia japonica, commonly called Japanese skimmia, is a dense, mounded, broad-leaved evergreen shrub that matures to 3-4' tall and to 5' wide. Female plants typically spread more than male plants. This shrub is ornamentally grown in shady locations for appreciation of its evergreen leaves, mildly fragrant white flowers in spring and red fruits on female plants in fall. It is native to Japan, China and Southeast Asia. Leathery, oval to obovate, dark green leaves (to 5" long) with yellowish-green undersides are, for the most part, clustered somewhat whorl-like at the branch ends. Leaves are aromatic when crushed. Fragrant, creamy white flowers (1/4" across), sometimes tinged pink, bloom in rounded terminal panicles (to 2-3" long) at the branch tips in mid spring (April). Flowers on female shrubs are followed by small spherical red fruits (to 3/8" across) which ripen in October and persist through winter. Male flowers are usually more fragrant and slightly larger than female flowers, but female flowers are the ones that bear the attractive red berries.

Genus name comes from the Japanese name Shikimi.

Specific epithet means of Japan.


No serious insect or disease problems. Easy to grow. Scale and aphids. Watch for mites.

Garden Uses

Shrub borders, woodland gardens or foundations. Hedge. Good understory shrub for sundappled landscape areas shaded by trees.