Nandina domestica
Common name: 
Heavenly Bamboo
Sacred Bamboo
nan-DE-na do-MES-ti-ka
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Evergreen shrub, 6+ ft, (1.8 m), compact forms 0.3-1.2 m high.  Leaves alternate, bi- or tri-pinnately compound, 30-60 cm long, leaflets 2-7.5 cm long, leathery, tip acuminate, base wedge-shaped, margin entire; red in spring, blue-green summer, and purple-red in fall.  Pink flowers in the bud, finally white with yellow anthers, each 5-13 mm, on long panicles.  Bright red berries, 8 mm diam., carried on large panicles, ripening in early fall and persisting through the winter.
  • Sun to shade.  Adaptable to extremes of soil and exposure, prefers moist, fertile soil. Thin out old stems to produce a dense plant.  Spreads by rhizomes.
  • Many cultivars are available, these include a number of compact and dwarf forms that are dense and grow to a height of less than 3 ft (0.9m).  There is even a dwarf form which has exceptionally fine leaves, i.e., ‘Filamentosa’.
  • Some of the more common cultivars include:
    • 'Atropurpurea Nana'  ('Nana Purpurea')  -  upright, stiff, about 2 ft (0.6 m) tall and somewhat greater width, leaves inrolled and/or cupped (virus?), yellow-green with purplish tint in summer becoming red during cold weather.  Seems to be fruitless.
    • 'Compacta'  -  4-5 ft (1.2-1.5 m) tall, 3 ft (0.9 m) wide, lacy looking, green foliage, reddish in winter.  Possibly several forms offered under this name.
    • 'Fire Power'  -  dwarf, red tinged summer foliage, bright red in winter, about 2 ft (0.6 m) tall.
    • 'Harbor Dwarf'  -  similar to 'Atropurpurea Nana' but leaves not cupped or rolled.
    • 'Moyers Red'  -  tall, may grow to 6 ft (1.8 m), foliage glossy, brilliant red in areas that receive frost in winter, flowers pinkish.
    • 'Umpqua Chief'  -  medium size, to 3 ft (0.9 m) tall in 3 years, slightly less width, typical green foliage, may color in winter.
    • 'Woods Dwarf'  -  dwarf, to about 2.5 ft (0.8 m) tall and wide, foliage not cupped or rolled, good red winter color.
  • See Dirr (1989) for a brief description of over 25 cultivars; reportedly over 60 cultivars are available in Japan.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 6, may die back due to winter kill but recovers.     Native range from India, China to Japan.
  • Nandina: from nanten, the Japanese name.     domestica: cultivated.
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: standard form, southeast Gilmore Hall.  dwarf form, southwest of Dixon Lodge, at Jefferson Ave. and 11th St.


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  • plant habit, flowering

    plant habit, flowering

  • leaf


  • flower cluster

    flower cluster

  • plant habit, fruiting

    plant habit, fruiting

  • in a landscape, fruiting

    in a landscape, fruiting

  • leaves and fruit

    leaves and fruit

  • fruit


  • plant habit, fall

    plant habit, fall

  • leaf, fall

    leaf, fall