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Eleutherococcus sieboldianus ‘Variegatus’ (photo courtesy of Susan A. Roth)
Eleutherococcus sieboldianus ‘Variegatus’ (photo courtesy of Susan A. Roth)

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Zone
Zones 2B, 3-10, 14-17
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Full, Partial, Shade
Ample WaterRegular WaterMinimal Water
Ample, Moderate, Minimal

Eleutherococcus sieboldianus

Araliaceae
Deciduous, Shrubs, Decorative fruit or berries

A native of China and Japan, this shrub grows to 8–10 ft. tall and wide. Its erect, eventually arching stems have short thorns below each leaf. The bright green leaves have five to seven 1–2 1/2-in.-long leaflets arranged like fingers on a hand. Small, inconspicuous white flowers are borne in clusters, which are rarely followed by clusters of small black berries. This plant’s virtues are its somewhat tropical appearance, adaptability (takes rich or poor soil, any exposure, any amount of irrigation), and high tolerance for difficult conditions, including air pollution. ‘Variegatus’, a 6–8-ft. shrub with white-bordered leaflets, is more widely grown than the species.

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