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Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’
Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’

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Zone
Zones 4-33
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Partial, Shade
Regular Water
Moderate

Aucuba japonica

Japanese Aucuba
Garryaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs, Decorative fruit or berries

Native from the Himalayas to Japan. These seedlings vary in leaf form and variegations; many varieties are offered. The species is densely covered with shiny, dark green, toothed leaves 3–8 in. long, 1 1/2–3 in. wide, but the most commonly sold forms are spotted and splashed with yellow variegation. Standard green-leafed aucuba grows at a moderate rate to 6–10 ft. (sometimes 15 ft.) tall and wide. Can be kept lower by pruning.

Minute dark maroon flowers in earliest spring are followed by clusters of bright red, 3/4-in. berries in fall and winter. Both sexes must be planted to ensure fruit set. A green-leafed variety called ‘Rozannie’ is self-fruitful, producing a heavy crop of berries without a pollenizer.

‘Mr. Goldstrike’

Grows to 4–6 ft. tall, 4 ft. wide. Covered with shiny green, toothed leaves 3–8 in. long, 1 1/2–3 in. wide, heavily splashed with gold variegation. This is a male variety.

Aucuba japonica ‘Picturata’ (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)
Aucuba japonica ‘Picturata’ (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)

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‘Picturata’

This variety’s leaves have golden yellow centers and edges of dark green dotted yellow. Grows to 6–10 ft. tall and wide. Female.

‘Serratifolia’

Grows 4–6 ft. tall, 5 ft. wide. Covered with dark all-green, toothed leaves 3–8 in. long, 1 1/2–3 in. wide. This is a female variety.

Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ (photo courtesy of Laura Dunkin-Hubby)
Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ (photo courtesy of Laura Dunkin-Hubby)

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‘Variegata’

‘Variegata’, often called gold dust plant, is the best-known aucuba. It has dark green leaves spotted with yellow; plants may be male or female.

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