Spotted Laurel (Aucuba japonica)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Spotted Laurel
Aucuba japonica

Makes a good hedge but its large leaves mean that it is quite labour intensive to maintain if a neatly clipped appearance is desired[29]. Unless you are happy with the large leaves being cut in half, it means that you have to trim the hedge with secateurs[29].

The plant will eventually make large weed-excluding shrubs and are suitable for covering large areas of ground, there are some dwarf forms that can be grown for ground cover[208]. ‘Nana Rotundifolia’ has been mentioned and will form a hummock of growth about 1 metre across[208].

  • Medicinal Use

    The leaves are pounded and applied to burns, swellings, chilblains etc[218].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – cooked. An emergency food[177]. It would have to be quite an emergency to convince me to eat them[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[134]. Wash off the pulpy coating since this can inhibit germination. Stored seed should be soaked overnight and then stratified for 1 – 2 weeks at 3¡c[134]. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 3 months or more at 20¡c[134]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Once they are 20cm or more tall, plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, 15 – 20cm long outdoors at any time between September to February though October and November are best[78]. Very easy, even small branches will root[1]. Layering in autumn. Takes 12 months[78].
A very tolerant and easily grown plant[1], it thrives in most soils and even in the total shade of trees[11, 182, 200] though for good fruit production a position with at least moderate sun should be chosen[11]. Tolerates dry soils and drought[184, 200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates salt winds[200]. Very tolerant of atmospheric pollution[11]. Plants are hardy to about -15¡c[184, 200]. Often grown in the ornamental garden, there are many named varieties[182]. The foliage can be scorched in very long hot summers if the plant is in an open position[200]. Very tolerant of pruning, plants can be cut right back into the old wood if required[184, 200]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
E. Asia – China, Japan.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.