Scolopia oldhamii is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to Fujian, Ryuka Islands of Japan and Taiwan. The plants grow in a wide range of landscapes, from mountains below 1300 feet (400 m), to plains, roadside thickets and the margins of jungles. Leaves are ovate to broadly obovate, dark green and leathery, 1.8-3.5 inches long by 0.5-1.5 (1.5-4 cm) wide. Margins are entire or shallowly and remotely serrulate. Plants in nature will reach from 9-20 feet (3-6 m) tall. Bark is smooth and gray-brown. Branches have spines when young and are unarmed as they age. They are fairly easy to grow and are hardy in the landscape in USDA zone 8-10.
Blooming Time: In the greenhouse, plants bloom in August and September. Flowers are yellowish to white, 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch (6-8 mm) in diameter. The fruit is a green berry that turns blackish-green when mature.
Culture: Scolopia oldhamii needs full sun to partial shade with a moist, well drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part sand or perlite. Plants are well watered and allowed to dry slightly before watering again. We fertilize the plants monthly during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/2 the strength recommended on the label. The plants are very fast growing when young and should be re-potted on a yearly basis until the desired height is reached and then should be selectively pruned to maintain the desired form. During the winter months, plants are grown slightly drier, but without ever letting the plant dry out thoroughly.
Propagation: Scolopia oldhamii is propagated by cuttings taken in spring and also grown from seed. Seed germinate readily at 65-70°F (18-21°C).
Scolopia oldhamii was featured as Plant of the Week July 16-29, 2010.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.