classification
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Skimmia
Species: S. japonica

SKIMMIA JAPONICA VEITCHII (FOREMANII)

Skimmia japonica, along with its various cultivars, is a popular, mound-forming, evergreen garden plant. Native to Japan, the Ryukyu Islands the Philippines, China and Formosa, it has been under cultivation at Royal Kew gardens as far back as 1838. However, it wasn't until 1861 that it came to the prominent attention of professional gardeners and horticulturists after being re-introduced from Japan by well known Scottish botanist and plant hunter Robert Fortune (1812 – 1880).

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Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' is usually the plant of choice for most gardeners, but as this particular species is dioecious (male and female flowers are produced on separate plants) and the Rubella form is male. Therefore the Rubella form will not produce the spectacular berries associated with this genus. This is where the female clone Skimmia japonica 'Veitchii' makes sense.

Described in 1874 by Paris based, French botanist Élie-Abel Carrière (1818 – 1896), Skimmia japonica 'Veitchii' is believed to have been introduced by horticulturist and traveller John Gould Veitch (1839 – 1870), and one of the first Victorian plant hunters to visit Japan. Veitch was in Japan at the same time as Fortune, however there is no reference to him bringing back this specific introduction. Neither has any authentic plant been documented.

Skimmia japonica ‘Veitchii’ is a vigourous female clone with distinctly broad-ovate, aromatic leaves. Small but dense clusters of white star shaped flowers appear in mid and late spring. These are followed by large bunches of long lasting brilliant red, waxy fruits which appear from mid-autumn onwards. Like many other species from this genus the berries are often still in place when the plants comes back into bloom the following spring.

Under favourable condition you can expect Skimmia japonica ‘Veitchii’ to reach a height and spread of between 1-1.5 metres. Plant in a moist, well-drained soil in a bright position but one which is protected from the midday sun. Full sun can cause the top-most leaves to bleach yellow.

It will perform best in slightly acidic soils, however it will also tolerate chalk if plenty of organic matter has been previously dug in.

For related articles click onto the following links:

SKIMMIA JAPONICA VEITCHII

SKIMMIA REEVESIANA

SKIMMIA JAPONICA 'RUBELLA'

About the Author

The 'Seeds of Eaden' website is the brainchild of professional horticulturist and multi-award winning gardener Simon Eade. After six years of study; two years 'Retail Horticulture' at Hadlow College, then four years Commercial Horticulture at Greenwich University, Simon has worked in a number of 'fields' within the industry for over twenty years. Most notably, managing the prestigious Alexandra Palace garden centre in London. Since then he has become an internationally published writer, and author of the popular 'Garden of Eaden' blog.

Simon Eade is also a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society's Banksian medal

You can contact the 'Seeds of Eaden' at gardenofeaden@gmail.com