Nandina domestica commonly known as nandina, heavenly bamboo or sacred bamboo, is a species of flowering plant in the family Berberidaceae, native to eastern Asia from the Himalayas to Japan. It is the only member of the monotypic genus Nandina.
Despite the common name, it is not a bamboo but an erect evergreen shrub up to 2 m tall by 1.5 m wide, with numerous, usually unbranched stems growing from ground level. The glossy leaves are sometimes deciduous in colder areas, 50–100 cm long, bi- to tri-pinnately compound, with the individual leaflets 4–11 cm long and 1.5–3 cm broad. The young leaves in spring are brightly coloured pink to red before turning green; old leaves turn red or purple again before falling. The flowers are white, borne in early summer in conical clusters held well above the foliage. The fruit is a bright red berry 5–10 mm diameter, ripening in late autumn and often persisting through the winter.
N. domestica, grown in Chinese and Japanese gardens for centuries, was brought to Western gardens by William Kerr, who sent it to London in his first consignment from Canton, in 1804. The English, unsure of its hardiness, kept it in greenhouses at first. The scientific name given to it by Carl Peter Thunberg is a Latinised version of a Japanese name for the plant, nan-ten. Nandina is widely grown in gardens as an ornamental plant. Over 65 cultivars have been named in Japan, where the species is particularly popular and a national Nandina society exists. In Shanghai berried sprays of nandina are sold in the streets at New Year, for the decoration of house altars and temples.
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