Pieris japonica information

Pieris japonica 'Carnaval'Pieris japonica is just one variety of the popular plant 'Pieris', belonging to the family Ericaceae *. Like Pieris japonica, the leaves of all seven Pieris varieties stay green all year. Some varieties already flourish in December, others (the more compact cultivars) flourish in May. Pieris japonica is native to eastern Asia and Japan and counts more than 100 known different cultivars.

*Also called the heath family or ericaceous plants, containing well known plants like Azalea, Rhododendron, Cranberry and Blueberry.

As mentioned before, there are 7 Pieris varieties. Four of them are native to Asia, and three of them are native to America:

  • Pieris cubensis (Western Cuba)
  • Pieris floribunda (Eastern United States)
  • Pieris formosa (Southwestern China)
  • Pieris japonica (Japan)
  • Pieris nana (Eastern Siberia)
  • Pieris phillyreifolia (Southeastern United States)
  • Pieris swinhoei (Southeastern China)

The inflorescence varies from the tiny Pieris nana (2 cm) to trees which can measure up to 8 meters, named Pieris formosa. All Pieris varieties, in fact all plants belonging to the family Ericaceae thrive best in acid soils.

Raceme of Pieris japonicaSo, Pieris japonica is native to and therefore named after Japan. The huge and spread 'growing area' (up to 3300 meters) turns Pieris japonica into a very diverse Pieris variety, varying from big and broad bushes to very little and compact plants. The fact that there are over 100 known Pieris japonica cultivars tells us enough about the diversity of this plant. The leaves of Pieris japonica cultivars are lancet-shaped and shining dark green, even in winter. A flourishing Pieris japonica has racemes with a white or light-pink crown, which give the plant a stunning, colorful look.

Pieris japonica thrives best in acid soils and needs sunlight to grow best. Pieris japonica are easy to cut back (trim). This needs to be done, so that the flowers (which already have flourished) do not consume nutritious substances and more energy is left to evolve new seeds.

Pieris brassicae

Pieris is named after the Greek king of Emathia, Pieros. Pieros named his 9 daughters after the Muses (Greek goddesses of art and science). Their beauty was stunning, as the beauty of Pieris is, so therefore the plant was named Pieris. Besides the plant, there are also a couple of butterflies named Pieris. One of them is Pieris brassicae, better known as Large White or Cabbage White.

To learn more about Pieris japonica cultivars, please click at the links at the left of this page. Information about other Pieris varieties and specific Pieris japonica cultivars will be available on this site in the near future.

Posted on March 2, 2008 by Admin