Photinia villosa
Common Name: Christmas berry 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Japan, Korea, China
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Somewhat drought tolerant once established. Avoid wet soils. Water root zones (avoid getting water on the leaves). Site plants in areas with good air circulation. Prune in winter to thin (create better air circulation). Propagate by cuttings or seed. In optimum growing conditions, this shrub will spread rapidly by self-seeding to form colonies.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Photinia villosa, commonly called Oriental photinia or Christmas berry, is a deciduous shrub or small tree of the rose family. Unless trained as a tree, it will typically mature to 10-15’ tall and as wide with an irregular oval crown. It is native to forests, thickets, stream margins, slopes, roadsides and waste areas in Japan, Korea and China. Simple, alternate, sharply serrate, elliptic to obovate leaves (each to 3” long) are dark green above and villous (hairy) below. Each marginal serration is gland tipped. Leaves emerge with bronze tints in spring (April), mature to dark green by summer and finally produce excellent yellow, orange and red color in fall. Five-petaled creamy white flowers (each to 1/3” across) bloom in spring (April-May) in terminal corymbose panicles (to 2” wide). Flowers are followed by red fruits (pomes) which ripen in fall but persist on the tree well into winter (hence the common name of Christmas berry).

Genus name comes from the Greek word photeinos meaning shining in reference to the shiny leaves of some species.

Specific epithet comes from the Latin word villosus meaning having soft hairs in reference to the hairy leaf undersides.

Problems

Susceptile to fireblight. Also susceptible to photinia leaf spot disease Entomosporium maculatum which causes significant problems to some species of photinia. This leaf spot disease is generally more difficult to control in the hot and humid summer climates of the deep South in USDA Zones 8-9 than in climates further north. Powdery mildew may also occur. Watch for aphids and scale.

Garden Uses

Specimen. Screen. Large hedge. Informal garden areas. Shrub borders.