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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Kerria (after William Kerr, a gardener who introduced this and many other plants from China; d. 1814; not J. Bellenden Ker or M. Kerr, as often stated). Rosaceae. A monotypic genus, one of the first shrubs brought from Japan, best known by its weak, slender green branches, slender irregularly toothed leaves and large yellow flowers.

From Rhodotypus, a close relative, it differs in its 5 rather than 4 petals, 5-8 rather than 4 carpels, and in the dry achene rather than drupe. The related genus Neviusa lacks petals, and has 2-4 carpels. K. japonica, DC. (Corckorus japonicus, Thunb.), is a very common bush in yards under the name of Japanese Rose, Corchorus and the prevailing double form as Globe-flower. (Fig. 2033): lvs. simple, alternate, ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, largely unequally serrate, 1-2 in. long, clear green above, pale below, thin, slightly pubescent: fls. abundant, solitary, terminal, peduncled, 1-2 in. diam. appearing in June and more or less throughout the year; calyx persistent, 5-lobed; petals 5, large, yellow, ovate; stamens numerous: carpels 5-8, globose, distinct. A.G. 18:425. F.E. 9:593. R.H. 1869, p. 293. Gn. 21, p. 275. var. flore-pleno, double, more vigorous and more frequent in cult, than the single. B.M. 1296. G. 26:345; 27:146. G.M. 50:210. G.Z. 9:48. var. grandiflora, a vigorous form with large fls. var. vittato-ramosa, Zabel (K. ramulis variegatis aureis), a dwarf form, the branches striped with yellow and green. var. argenteo-variegata, 2-3 ft. high, with small green lvs. edged with white.

Kerria japonica grows 4 to 8 feet high and as broad as high, with numerous short-branched, spreading stems, attractive in winter from its light green branches; in early June, when its blossoms appear in greatest abundance; in November, when the leaves are of a clear yellow; and is not unattractive throughout the whole year. It is a refined plant and deserves free use in ornamental planting, either in simple masses or at the front of a shrubby group or border. It is not thoroughly hardy in all situations in the northern states, the tips of its branches often winter-killing, which causes it to demand a well-drained and partially sheltered position. It grows in any good garden soil. Although enduring sunlight, it is best in partial shade, since the intensity of full sunlight partially bleaches the flowers. It is propagated by cuttings, layers and root-divisions. A. Phelps Wyman.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

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Kerria japonica01.jpg
Plant Info
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Kingdom: Plantae
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Division: Magnoliophyta
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Class: Magnoliopsida
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Superorder: {{{superordo}}}
Order: Rosales
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Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Rosoideae
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Genus: Kerria
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Species: K. japonica
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Binomial name
Kerria japonica
(L.) DC.
Trinomial name
Type Species

Kerria japonica, the sole species in the genus Kerria, is a deciduous shrub in the rose family Rosaceae, native to eastern Asia, in China, Japan and Korea. It is named after William Kerr, who introduced the cultivar 'Pleniflora'. The scientific genus name is also used as a common name Kerria.

It grows to 1-3 m tall, with weak arching stems often scrambling over other vegetation or rocks. The leaves are alternate, simple, 4-7 cm long, with a sharply serrated margin. The flowers are bright yellow, with five petals. The fruit is a dry single-seeded achene 5 mm long.

Cultivation and uses


Kerria is a very popular ornamental plant in gardens, almost invariably using the double-flowered cultivar 'Pleniflora'. Another common name for it is the Japanese Yellow Rose.


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