|Aucuba subsp. var.|
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|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Aucuba (Latinized for Aokiba, its Japanese name). Cornaceae. Ornamental plants grown for their large evergreen foliage, often handsomely variegated, and also for the bright scarlet fruits.
Shrubs with stout forked branches: Lvs. opposite, remotely serrate or nearly entire: fls. dioecious, small; calyx minute, 4-toothed; petals 4; staminate fls. with 4 stamens, filaments short, with a large disk in the middle; pistillate with an inferior 1-celled ovary, style short with an oblique stigma: fr. a 1-seeded berry-like drupe.—Three species in E. Asia extending west to W. China and E. Himalayas, often considered varieties of one polymorphous species.
The aucubas are evergreens with large, lustrous, and often handsomely variegated leaves, small purple flowers in terminal panicles, elongated in the staminate, short and rather dense in the pistillate plant and with bright scarlet oblong berries forming terminal clusters. Hardy in the southern states about as far north as Washington, D. C., and in sheltered localities even farther north; they are well adapted for city gardens as they withstand dust and smoke to a considerable degree.
In the northern states, aucubas are grown in cool- houses—those adapted to azaleas are excellent—and they are kept evergreen by keeping them in a pit during winter, or by holding them cool and partially dry in the house. They will stand five or six degrees of frost in a pit. From cuttings of half-ripened wood, good specimen plants may be had in two or three years. Fruiting plants, with their numerous bright scarlet berries, are exceedingly attractive, but as the plant is dioecious, there must be male plants with the female ones. If grown in pots and under glass, the plant must be fertilized by shaking the flowering male plant over the female, or by applying the pollen with a camel's-hair pencil. If the male plant flowers earlier, the pollen may be collected and kept dry until the female plant is in flower; it remains effective for some weeks. In the open, aucuba grows well in any good, somewhat moist though well- drained soil, in a half-shaded position. In pots, it will thrive in a sandy loam with sufficient drainage, and requires plenty of water during its growing period. Fruiting plants should not have too large pots.
They are propagated very easily by half-ripened greenwood cuttings at nearly any time of the year, under glass, and by seeds sown soon after maturity; the varieties are sometimes grafted on the common form in early spring, under glass.
A. chinensis, Benth. Lvs. lanceolate to nearly obovate, entire or toward the apex sharply dentate, sharply acuminate: petals finely and long-acuminate; panicle with scattered short and stiff hairs. China.—A. himalaica, Hook. f. & Thorns. (A. japonica var. himalaica, Dipp.). Lvs. usually lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, entire or dentate, sharply and long-acuminate: panicles densely hairy: petals long and finely acuminate: fr. orange to scarlet. E. Himalayas.
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