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Pachysandra terminalis Siebold & Zucc.

Pachysandra, Japanese spurge

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderMalpighialesA broad group encompassing 16,000 species
FamilyBuxaceaeThe “box” or “boxwood” family
GenusPachysandraFrom pachys, “thick,” and aner, for “stamen,” for the thickened white filaments
Speciesterminalis“Terminal, marking boundaries”

About plant names...

Japanese pachysandra is native to Japan and northern and central China. It has escaped in eastern North America, and is a borderline invasive in some areas.

Identification: A evergreen ground cover, forming thick mats 10" (25 cm) tall. Leaves are medium green, darkening to dark green, glossy or waxy looking, alternate. They are oval in shape, toothed at the far end, 2-3½" (5-8.9 cm) × ½-1¼" (1.3-3.2 cm). Flowers are fragrant, white to cream-colored, in clusters above the foliage 1-2" (2.5-5 cm) in size. They appear from late March to early April. Tiny white fruits occur only sometimes and are easily missed.

Online References:

Pachysandra terminalis at Illinois Wildflowers

Pachysandra terminalis on

Pachysandra terminalis at the University of Connecticut Plant Database

Pachysandra terminalis at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Pachysandra terminalis on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Pachysandra terminalis on www.dcnr.pa.gov

Pachysandra terminalis on www.na.fs.fed.us (PDF)


Pachysandra terminalis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Pachysandra terminalis (pachysandra, Japanese spurge)

3/18/2012 · Gunpowder Falls State Park, Phoenix Rd., Phoenix, Mary­land
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Pachysandra terminalis (pachysandra, Japanese spurge)

3/18/2012 · Gunpowder Falls State Park, Phoenix Rd., Phoenix, Mary­land
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Pachysandra terminalis (pachysandra, Japanese spurge)

4/8/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Range: Zones 5-9:

About this map...