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can you id this?

Posted by Lebowskis_Rug none (My Page) on
Sat, Oct 12, 13 at 11:42

We just moved into a new home in Portland, OR and I'd like to identify some of the plants around the yard so I can properly maintain them. Let's start with this one. It has little red berries on it. Please help! Thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: can you id this?

Nandina domestica/


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RE: can you id this?

Yep! Nandina domestica or "Heavenly Bamboo"


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RE: can you id this?

You'll probably find a bunch of 3-leaved seedlings ... looking alarmingly like poison ivy plantlets.


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RE: can you id this?

Nandina domestica des not self-seed in the PNW - that's why it is not considered invasive in this area.


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RE: can you id this?

Isn't that a seedling in the lower left?


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RE: can you id this?

Nope - more likely to be a weed of some kind. It just does not get hot enough here for the seeds of this (and a number of other plants) to ripen enough for good germination. In a lifetime of gardening in this area I've never encountered a seedling nandina.


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RE: can you id this?

So it's warm enough for Trachelospermum jasminoides to bloom (I'm told), but Nandina can't fruit? Seems backwards. Can you confirm?

This post was edited by saltcedar on Sun, Oct 13, 13 at 21:27


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RE: can you id this?

Nandina's bloom in the spring. If you've got berries, it has bloomed already. We have a yardful of them.


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RE: can you id this?

  • Posted by mytime 3/4 Alaska (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 13, 13 at 20:21

Can I jump in? I know you know these things, saltcedar, but for the "new-to-gardening" readers, I thought I'd clarify a few things, due to reading sooo many warnings on this forum about invasiveness of certain species...
I can grow many perennials that supposedly aren't hardy in my zone, including some of those invasive in other climates...BUT...
1)they might not bloom
2)if they bloom they might not be pollinated (wrong pollinators or incorrect temperature, etc.)
3)if they're pollinated, the seeds may not ripen (especially when we have rainy day after rainy day...seed pods tend to rot sometimes)
4)if the seeds do manage to ripen, they very possibly won't survive the winter and still be viable
5)even if viable, the correct cultural conditions for germination might not be available...not enough warmth, too much daylight, etc.
6)let's say, against all odds, items 1-5 all manage to align correctly for at least 1 year...at that point, the odds of the tender young plant making it through the first winter would be just about nil.
Which reminds me...I really should go out and dig up a couple of the young Amsonia tabernaemontana I started from seed this year. I'm pretty sure it will grow if it makes it through this winter, but this first winter will be the tough part.


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RE: can you id this?

I'm puzzled because the PNW should mimic the native conditions (overall) of Nandinas home range. Maybe there are seedling predators (slugs?) that eliminate them early on.

This post was edited by saltcedar on Sun, Oct 13, 13 at 21:28


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RE: can you id this?

  • Posted by mytime 3/4 Alaska (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 13, 13 at 21:54

Well, yes and no...even though most sources say "native to Asia, from China to Japan", further digging seems to point towards southern China, with the Japan part meaning it has grown there for a really long time, but probably brought from China. So if that's true, the native latitudes are those of southeastern U.S., where it is indeed invasive. So I'm guessing that it may indeed be heat, as gardengal says, or possibly having something to do with daylight and length of seasons. I was looking up the def. of subtropical, just to be precise on something I was going to write, and I happened to click on the page below...notice how the "humid subtropical climate map" matches the native range of Nandina (or at least as much as I can narrow it down), which matches the invasive range of Nandina in the U.S.

Here is a link that might be useful: humid subtropical


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An interesting read. Good sleuthing.


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  • Posted by mytime 3/4 Alaska (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 13, 13 at 22:25

I love researching stuff....and the internet has been such a boon to a person like me. It is sometimes difficult, though to find actual facts.


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RE: can you id this?

I can attest that nandina is well-behaved in Portland, I have never seen seedlings either. The nandina pictured above is in the open and will require little maintenance, just prune off any odd vigorous asymmetrical branches. Watering monthly in summer may help prevent leaf burn. Berries are not edible.


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RE: can you id this?

Saltcedar - gg didn't say it doesn't fruit, she said it doesn't self seed. It is a question of the heat required for ripening. The same applies here in the UK - we get the berries but not the seedlings - or at least very few. This is also true of several other plants which are invasive in parts of the US like Ailanthus and Paulownia.

(Trachelospermum jasminoides also flowers here, btw)


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Trachelospermum jasminoides also flowers here, btw

Interesting because I'm hearing of failure to bloom in the UK. Wonder what's going on in that case?

You may be wondering why I'm having trouble with these two plants... I consider Trachelospermum J borderline hardy here in Texas. It gets frost damaged even in central Florida, yet it's able to mature wood and flower and survive English and PNW Winters. Then there's Nandina which is tough as old boots but can't ripen a seed?

This post was edited by saltcedar on Mon, Oct 14, 13 at 9:18


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RE: can you id this?

Maybe the 'thing' at the lower left is rhizomatous growth.


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Well the RHS seems to expect Nandina to flower. I don't grow it but I've seen plants grow for years without blooming and others which regularly do so. Must be specific conditions in terms of place and micro climate.

Trachelospermum jasminoides is a relative newcomer to outdoor growing here and in the past was always assumed too tender AFAIK. It is still considered borderline hardy. But we are getting used to finding lots of things we used to think too nesh are surviving most winters. Average winter temperatures are creeping slowly upwards. I don't have T jasminoides but I do have T asiaticum and the darn thing has never flowered once for me. I think it gets too little sun. But it is evergreen, is happy in a pot and covers a plastic drainpipe well.

This year for the first time ever one of the compost avocados which often sprout in the garden survived the winter at about 6 inches high. Lost its leaves but has come back. Will it it make it through this one?

Here is a link that might be useful: Nandina


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RE: can you id this?

T asiaticum rarely flowers and seemingly to never flower unless climbing.


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I have not seen any reseeding here but it certainly does sucker. to being invasive. In harsh winters the leaves are lost but it always returns. Also I can cut it back to the ground or any level and it will resprout very nicely.
Hard to believe it does not flower in PNW (where everything seems to love it).


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RE: can you id this?

Well that's a blow, Salt. Mine is definitely climbing but it was clearly sold under false pretences considering the pretty picture on the label. I went for T jasminoides but they didn't have it so I ended up getting T asiaticum.


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RE: can you id this?

Well that's a blow, Salt. Mine is definitely climbing but it was clearly sold under false pretences considering the pretty picture on the label. I went for T jasminoides but they didn't have it so I ended up getting T asiaticum.


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If you have 'Mandianum' (sometimes considered T. asiaticum)it may not be a shy bloomer.

This post was edited by saltcedar on Mon, Oct 14, 13 at 17:19


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Flora is correct - it is the lack of summer heat that prevents the seed from fully ripening. That is exactly why many plants that are invasive in other, much more severe climate locations than the mild PNW are NOT considered invasive here - the seeds are unable to ripen sufficiently for successful germination. That would include the nandinas (not all cultivars of nandina produce flowers with equal ease, btw), Japanese barberries, burning bush, Paulownia, mimosa (silk trees), golden rain tree (Koelreuteria), rose of Sharon, Miscanthus sinensis, pampas grass, etc.

It also hampers the winter hardiness of some plants with more southerly origins that are used to warmer summers - loropetalum, Indian hawthorn, crape myrtles........none of these thrive here. The seasonal growth seldom ripens fully to escape winter damage and getting a crape myrtle to flower takes an act of God!!

It's a rather unique climate :-) Much closer to flora's than anywhere else in the States.


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gardengal48 - those lists could have been written for the UK. You're quite right about the similarities in climate.


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  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 15, 13 at 17:21

The main limiting factor for east Asian plants that might otherwise go wild here is lack of summer rain. That is the critical difference between the behavior of certain popular ornamentals that have become pests in the summer wet eastern States and have not done so here. When these same plants do encounter a patch of available ground that is irrigated or otherwise offering adequate amelioration of drought then seeding out becomes possible. Hence the small patch of Japanese honeysuckle in a low place just above lake level in a Seattle park - the only such instance I have encountered here - the empress trees that come up in rock walls and even places where landscape rocks have been scattered around on a bed (in the manner of wild cactus seedlings growing among rocks during their early years in the desert), and so on.

If an east Asian plant is from a little drier area in the wild then it does become possible for it to go wild here, the over 60 species of cotoneasters recorded a few years back as growing wild in Seattle for instance. Otherwise the dominant weeds here are Eurasian in origin.

We have warmer and drier summers here than Britain, with a normal Seattle summer being a 100 year drought in London. But English conditions are a lot more like ours than elsewhere in the US, with British gardening books and magazines tending to be better sources of information than those generated domestically (except for those from the same specific region of the US and Canada).


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Yeah those hot, dry summers I hear (some) PNW'ers whine about makes me chuckle. I'd Like to plop them down in a Texas heat wave/drought and see what they'd say.

Going on year 5 of a continual drought. Hope El Nino comes to the rescue soon!

This post was edited by saltcedar on Tue, Oct 15, 13 at 17:32


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