Pieris japonica
Common name: 
Japanese Pieris
Japanese Andromeda
Lily-of-the-Valley Shrub
pi-ER-is ja-PON-i-ca
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Broadleaf evergreen shrub 9-12 ft (3-4 m), 6-8 ft (2-2.5 m) spread, upright with stiff, spreading branches.  Leaves alternate, simple, obovate to oblanceolate, 3-9 cm long, crenate-serrate, lustrous dark green above, new growth bronze-green to reddish.  Flowers white, urn-shaped, 6 mm long, in 8-15 cm drooping clusters (panicles), in spring (early to late).
  • Sun to part shade.  Best in moist, well-drained, acid soil with ample organic matter. However, not as demanding for acid soil as many other ericaceous plants.  Responds to fertilization, especially in high rainfall areas.  Low nutrition may result in yellow foliage.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 4b or 5       Native to Japan.
  • A number of cultivars, Dirr (1998) lists over 50, some are hybrids with P. floribunda.  Some of the cultivars produced by wholesale nurseries in Oregon include:
    • 'Bert Chandler'  -  salmon pink new foliage, then cream, white and finally light green; white flowers.
    • 'Bisbee Dwarf'  -  white flowers, compact plant, leaves half usual size, red when young.
    • 'Brookside'  -  (syn. 'Brookside Miniature')  dwarf habit (1-2 ft, 30-60 cm), chartreuse new growth; white flowers.
    • 'Brouwer's Beauty'  -  a hybrid (P. japonica x P. floribunda), wide, upright; white flowers are sterile and produce no seed pods.  Hardy, a Cary Award winner, i.e. "Distinctive Plants for New England".
    • 'Cavatine'  -  hardy (USDA Zone 5), a selection of P. j. var. yakushimanum, compact, low growing mound; white flowers.
    • 'Christmas Cheer'  -  early, pink flowers with tip of corolla darker pink, two-tone effect.
    • 'Dorothy Wycoff'  -  red flower buds opening to pale pink to white.
    • 'Flaming Silver'  -  young leaves red, margins pink then silver white; flowers white.
    • 'Flamingo'  -  new growth pink, bright pink flowers.
    • 'Forest Flame  -  new leaves brilliant red, turn pink then white and finally green; white flowers.
    • 'Karenoma'  -  a hybrid (P. japonica x P. floribunda), soft pink buds, white flowers.
    • 'Little Heath'  -  compact; bronze-red new growth develops into yellowish green variegation when mature, may revert to a green form which is propagated and sold as 'Little Heath Green' (Dirr, 1998).
    • 'Mountain Fire'  -  vivid red new growth, white flowers.
    • 'Prelude'  -  P. j. var. yakushimanum, dwarf, 2 ft x 3 ft (60-90 cm), white flowers.
    • 'Pygmaea'  -  dwarf, to 3-4 ft (0.9-1.2 m) high, leaves small (2.5 cm long) and very narrow; flowers white.
    • 'Scarlet O'Hara'  -  narrow habit, bronze-red new growth, white flowers.
    • 'Spring Snow'  -  a hybrid (P. japonica x P. floribunda), compact mounding habit, white flowers.
    • 'Valley Fire'  -  brilliant red new growth, large white flowers.
    • 'Valley Rose'  -  pastel pink flowers, deep green foliage (introduced by Bob Tichnor, Oregon State Univ.).
    • 'Valley Valentine'  -  maroon flower buds develop into deep rose-pink flowers, glossy dark green foliage (introduced by Bob Tichnor, Oregon State Univ.).
    • 'Variegata'  -  burnished red new growth, matures to cream-edged foliage; white flowers.
  • Leaves and nectar are poisonous, causing transient mouth burning, followed hours later by vomiting, coma, and convulsions.


Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, flowering

    plant habit, flowering

  • plant habit, flowering

    plant habit, flowering

  • flower clusters and leaves

    flower clusters and leaves

  • flower clusters, red

    flower clusters, red

  • new growth and flower clusters

    new growth and flower clusters

  • flower cluster and new leaves

    flower cluster and new leaves

  • expanding leaves

    expanding leaves

  • leaves and fruit

    leaves and fruit