Stranvaesia davidiana var. davidiana

Common Name: Chinese photinia 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Western China
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zone 7 where it is easily grown in humusy, fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best fruit production may occur in full sun. Avoid wet soils. Site plants in areas with good air circulation. Propagate by cuttings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Stranvaesia davidiana, synonymous with and sometimes listed as Photinia davidiana, is a large, upright, bushy evergreen shrub of the rose family that typically matures to 10-15’ tall and to 8-10’ wide. It is native to slopes, mountainsides, roadsides, thickets, river valleys, and ravines in central to southern China, Vietnam and Malaysia. Five-petaled white flowers (to 1/3” across) bloom in clusters (compound corymbs to 3-4” wide) in late May-June. Flowers are followed by small orbicular berries (pomes to 1/4” diameter) which mature to red by late summer and typically persist on the plant well into winter. Oblong to oblanceolate evergreen leaves (2-3” long) with toothless margins are dull dark green. New leaves emerge with pinkish bronze tones.

Genus name is unresolved at this time. Flora of China lists the plant as Stranvaesia davidiana but RHS and The Plant List current list it as Photinia davidiana. Interpretation of molecular data may help resolve the differences here.

Var. davidiana is distinguished by having densely flowered inflorescences to 4” tall, entire leaf margins and densely villous pedicels (see Flora of China). It is currently an unresolved question among some experts as to whether var. davidiana and var. undulata are distinct enough to be considered varieties.

Genus name honors William T. H. Fox-Strangways (1795-1865), 4th Earl of Ilchester, English diplomatist and botanist.

Specific epithet honors Pere Armand David (1826-1900), French Lazarist missionary who discovered this species in China in 1869.

Problems

Leaf spot disease Entomosporium mespili can cause significant problems. 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. Fireblight and powdery mildew may also occur. Watch for aphids, scale and vine weevils.

Garden Uses

Specimen. Background evergreen. Screen. Large hedge. Shrub borders. Walls or fences.