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A Floridata Plant Profile #11 Aucuba japonica
Common Names: Japanese aucuba, Japanese laurel, gold-dust tree
Family: Cornaceae (dogwood Family)
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Shrub  Drought Tolerant Tolerant of Shade and Low Light Conditions Can be Grown in Containers Grows Well Indoors. Has Ornamental (non-edible) Fruit Has evergreen foliage Has Unusual or Interesting Foliage

Variegated aucuba is a good choice for brightening dark shady areas beneath large trees and under the eaves of houses and other structures.
Description
Japanese aucuba, or just aucuba, is an evergreen shrub that grows slowly to about 8-10 ft (2-3 m) tall, and thrives in low light areas. The shrub may have multiple stalks which support large - up to 8 in (20 cm) - shiny, leathery leaves. Aucubas are dioecious: the small purple flowers of male plants have yellow anthers, and those of the female plants produce bright red berries. Several cultivars have leaves that are variegated with yellow and these are especially attractive, many resembling a variegated croton (Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum).

Location
Aucuba japonica is, wonder of wonders, native to Japan! It has become a popular landscape shrub in mild temperate areas in the U.S. and Europe.

Culture
Light:
Aucuba thrives in light to deep shade.
Moisture: Once established, aucuba tolerates drought, but it always looks better when it gets regular watering.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 6-10.
Propagation: Propagate aucuba from fast growing stem cuttings in spring or semiripe cuttings in summer. Seeds should be sown outdoors in fall.

Usage
Aucuba is easy to grow. Plant it in shady, low light areas. It's also good in pots. Aucuba tolerates shade, air pollution, dry soils, salt spray and occasional derision. Use aucuba in entry areas, in foundation plantings, and under big trees. They are well suited as house plants.

Features
The shiny, bright green foliage, variegated with bright yellow, seems to light up shady corners of the yard. The brilliant red berries on female plants are also attractive. Use a variegated aucuba where a croton (Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum) is not hardy.

5/20/97; updated Steve Christman 5/1/06




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