Pieris japonica (Thunb.) D. Don ex G. Don
Japanese andromeda, lily-of-the-valley bush
Japanese andromeda is native to China, Taiwan, and Japan. It is not found in the wild in North America, though it and its many cultivars are popular in gardens.
Plants: An evergreen shrub or small tree 3-13' (1-4 m) in size, usually less than 6½' (2 m). Twigs are hairless, and easily broken.
Flowers: Flowers are abundant, forming drooping clusters up to 6" (15 cm) around. Individual flowers are white, about ¼" (6.3 mm) long, and resemble small inverted urns. They look very similar to blueberry flowers, to which they are loosely related. The tip of each flower has 5 small lobes that spread outward. (Cultivated varieties are available in shades of pink as well as white.) Flowers appear from March to April.
Fruits: Brown capsules with five valves are visible year-round. Each capsule is oval in shape, and about ⅛" (3.2 mm) long.
Edibility: Poisonous Leaves and flower nectar contain andromedotoxin, which can cause death to people or animals. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythms, and headache.
Pieris japonica at the Missouri Botanical Garden
Pieris japonica on plants.ces.ncsu.edu
Pieris japonica on hvp.osu.edu
Pieris japonica at the University of Connecticut Plant Database
Pieris japonica on plantfacts.osu.edu
Pieris japonica on woodyplants.cals.cornell.edu
Pieris japonica description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.
Range: Zones 4b-8: