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Pieris (plant)

Pieris is a genus of seven species of shrubs in the family Ericaceae, native to mountain regions of eastern and southern Asia, eastern North America and Cuba. Known commonly as andromedas or fetterbushes, they are broad-leaved evergreen shrubs growing to 1-6 m tall. The leaves are spirally arranged, often appearing to be in whorls at the end of each shoot with bare stretches of shoot below; they are lanceolate-ovate, 2-10 cm long and 1-3.5 cm broad, leathery textured, and with an entire or serrated margin. The young leaves in spring are typically brightly coloured. The flowers are bell-shaped, 5-15 mm long, white or pink, and arranged in racemes 5-12 cm long. The fruit is a woody capsule which splits into five sections to release the numerous small seeds.

Pieris species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including The Engrailed.


  • Pieris cubensis (Grisebach) Small. Western Cuba.
  • Pieris floribunda (Pursh ex Simms) Benth. & Hook. – Mountain Andromeda, Mountain Pieris. Eastern United States.
  • Pieris formosa (Wallich) D.Don – Chinese Pieris, Himalayan Pieris. The Himalaya, southwestern China (Yunnan), northern Myanmar.
  • Pieris japonica (Thunb.) D.Don ex G.Don – Japanese Andromeda. Eastern China, Japan, Taiwan.
  • Pieris nana (Maxim.) Makino (syn. Arcterica nana). Japan, eastern Siberia.
  • Pieris phillyreifolia (Hook.) DC. – Climbing fetterbush. Southeastern United States.
  • Pieris swinhoei Hemsley - Southeastern China (Fujian, Guangdong).


They are commonly grown as ornamental plants, valued for year-round interest due to bright red new growth in early spring, chains of small, white flowers in mid-spring, and buds that remain on the plant through the winter. Numerous cultivars have been selected for different spring foliage colour. They grow best in a shady spot, sheltered from drying, winter winds. They prefer acid soil, and should be muched once per year, using a two-inch covering of either peat or composted pine-needles. The red leaves give the plant one of its alternative names, 'Forest Flame, the flowers another; 'Lily of the Valley shrub'. "Forest Flame" is the name given to a hybrid between Pieris formosa "Wakeham" and Pieris Japonica, it is not a nickname for the plants generally.


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