Read more about edibilitySacred Bamboo

external image 51Ghmpx6gqL.jpgSacred Bamboo
Nandina domestica

  • Also known as Heavenly Bamboo
  • Originally grown in Japan and China
  • Brought West by William Kerr in 1804
  • Not actually Bamboo
  • Erect evergreen shrub that grows approximately 8 feet tall
  • Invades South East United States

N. domestica
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  • Leaves external image 0016084.jpg
    • Alternate
    • Large
    • Bi or tri-pinnately compound
    • Small leaflets
  • Stems
    • Older branches have bark
    • Overlapping leaf sheaths give "bamboo" look
  • Flowers
    • Bloom in spring
    • White flowers develop at end of stems
    • 3-6 reflexed petals
  • Fruit
    • Green berries that mature to red

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This plant is considered to have a toxicity of category 4, which is suggested to not be dangerous to humans, but the berries can be fatal to cats and grazing animals. All parts of the plant are considered to be poisonous because it contains hydrocyanic acid.

Availability and Growth

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  • Easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors.
  • It can be propagated by bare root, container, cuttings, seed, sprigs.
  • It has a slow ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have low vigor.
  • The plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below 2°F.
  • Has low tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions
  • Shade tolerant; able to invade forests
  • Lives to be over a century
  • Few pests or diseases that interrupt growth

Read more: Sacred Bamboo Plant Guide | Domestica Plant Information | Garden Guides

Impact on Humans and Fun Facts

  • Only used as an ornamental plant in landscaping
  • Only harm is to domestic pets and other animals if ingested
  • Invasion of this plant has no harm on the environment
  • Has been shown to block the effects of MDMA or ecstasy due to the alkaloid nantenine in the plant
  • The berries are used like holly in the United States to celebrate their New Year