Ternstroemia gymnanthera (Wight & Arn.) Bedd.

Japanese Ternstroemia (Cleyera)




Family: Pentaphylacaceae

Genus: Ternstroemia

Category: Shrub - Evergreen

Zones: 7 to 9

Size: 8 to 10' tall 5 to 6' wide

Growth Rate: Moderate

Exposure: Sun, Filtered Sun, Part Shade


Glossy, alternate, dark green leaves, to 4" long, red to bronze new growth. White to yellow flowers on old growth followed by 1" fruit in autumn. Densely branched, upright, oval to rounded form. May burn in full sun in winter. Does not like wet feet but prefers moist, well-drained soil. Prune in February.



Published in Fl. Sylv. S. India 19: 91 in 1871.

Native to China, Japan, Korea, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines.


My Experience: 

I purchased 2 1-gallon plants from Home Depot in summer 2008 and potted them up to 3-gallons before planting one in the front in summer 2009. It languished in the summer and was damaged by cold in winter. In summer 2011 I dug it up. I grew it successfully as a hedge in Evans, GA in part shade. In Calabash, NC, it grew rapidly as a hedge to about 8' but slowly one plant at a time it died. In that case I believe it was getting too much water, being near a drain outflow. One plant survived and grew to 15' tall.

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner