Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Nandina domestica Thunb.

Frost hardy evergreen or semi-evergreen shrub with upright shoots, pinnate to 3-pinnate leaves, to 90cm long, reddish when young, and conical panicles, to 40cm long, of small, star-shaped, white flowers with prominent anthers, in summer, followed by bright red berries.  To 2m.  [RHSE, Hilliers’, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘The Nandina is cultivated both in Japan and China; in the former country it is seen in every little garden about the houses, but whether for ornament only or that any particular use is made of it, we are not informed.  At a diftance, says Kaempfer, it has a reed-like appearance, many simple stems springing up from the same root, which are branched towards the top only, and terminated with a pyramidal panicle of red berries, the size of a pea. […] Our drawing of this very rare plant was taken at Messrs. Lee and Kennedy’s, where it flowered in the stove last January.  Tunberg states its season of flowering in Japan to be in May and June.  Mr. Donn, of Cambridge, says, it blooms with us in July; he considers it as a greenhouse shrub.  It may probably, as well as many other Japan plants, be found sufficiently hardy to endure our climate without shelter.  The beautiful Camellias are perfectly so, but their natural season of flowering being from October to April, they can never be thoroughly naturalized to our climate, until this habit can be broken and another flowering season induced.’  [BM t.1109/1808].

Introduced to Europe in 1804.  [PD].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.696/1843].


Published Feb 24, 2010 - 04:41 PM | Last updated Feb 24, 2010 - 04:48 PM

Figured are reddish stems, pinnate leaves and upright panicles of white flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.1109, 1808.

Nandina domestica Thunb. | BM t.1109/1808 | BHL

Family Berberidaceae
Region of origin

India, China, Japan

Common Name

Heavenly bamboo

Name in the Camden Park Record

Nandina domestica 

Confidence level high