Herb latin name: Skimmia japonica

Synonyms: Skimmia fragrans, Skimmia oblata

Family: Rutaceae (Rue Family, Citrus Family)

Medicinal use of Skimmia japonica:

The poisonous stems are carminative, restorative and tonic.

Description of the plant:


2 m
(6 1/2 foot)

to May


Habitat of the herb:

Woods, sometimes as an epiphyte on old Cryptomeria spp trees, in C. and S. Japan.

Other uses of Skimmia japonica:

Plants can be grown as a ground cover when planted about 1 metre apart each way.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - can be sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. It also succeeds when sown in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a shady position in the cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If there is sufficient seed then it can be sown can be in an outdoor seedbed in early spring. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for a couple of years before planting them out in late autumn or early spring. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a cold frame. Cuttings of nearly mature side shoots, 7 - 10cm with a heel, September in a cold frame. Slow to root, they should be left for 18 months before moving to their permanent positions. Good percentage. Layering in autumn. Takes 18 months. Good to high percentage.

Cultivation of Skimmia japonica:

Woods, sometimes as an epiphyte on old Cryptomeria spp trees, in C. and S. Japan.

Known hazards of Skimmia japonica:

A poisonous alkaloid called 'skimmianin' is found in all parts of the plant.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.