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Products > Rhaphiolepis umbellata
Rhaphiolepis umbellata - Yeddo Hawthorn
Image of Rhaphiolepis umbellata
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Rosaceae (Roses)
Origin: Japan (Asia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [Raphiolepis, Rhaphiolepis ovata]
Height: 4-6 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20° F
Rhaphiolepis umbellata (Yeddo Hawthorn) - A medium to large shrub that grows 6 to 8 feet tall and as wide. The large, to 3 1/2 inches long, leathery leaves are oval and finely serrated with new growth a coppery red and are grayish on the underside. In spring appear the round terminal clusters of lightly fragrant white flowers that are followed by dark round fruit. Plant in full sun to light shade. Water occasionally to very little in coastal gardens. Tolerates near beachside conditions. This old time garden stalwart is not grown much in the nursery trade but it is great where a reliable and durable large green shrub is required. It was a favorite of revered landscape designer and horticulturalist Philip Chandler, who included it in his book Reference Lists of Ornamental Plants for Southern California Gardens (Southern California Horticultural Society, 1993 - edited by Kathy Musial) with the note that it is "very handsome". He also included it as a recommended hedge plant in his article titled "Hedges Define the Garden" in the Winter 1980 issue of Pacific Horticulture. We have grown this plant in the distant past and are happy to once again to include it in our product lineup at the urging of landscape architect Heide Baldwin. Rhaphiolepis umbellata is native to both Japan and Korea, Taiwan, and Eastern Zhejiang Province of Mainland China. Harry Butterfield in his Dates of Introduction of Trees and Shrubs to California (UCDavis 1964) notes that this plant was first introduced to cultivation in California by Richard Fox (1852-1928) at his Santa Clara Nursery in 1884. The name Rhaphiolepis comes from the Greek words 'rhaphis' meaning "needle" and 'lepis' meaning "scale" and is thought to describe the unique flower bract architecture. The specific epithet umbellata is in reference to the terminal clusters of flowers which appear to be in umbels but are actually tight racemes. The common name refers to Yeddo (sometimes written Yedo), the capital and largest city in Japan, which is now called Tokyo. It is also commonly called Japanese Hawthorne, Round-leafed Hawthorne, and Sexton’s Bride in New Zealand (would love to know the story behind this name!) where it has naturalized along coastal headlands. This plant is uncommon in California and has not been noted as a weed pest here. .  The information displayed on this page is based on research conducted about this plant in our library and from reliable online sources. We also consider observations that we have made of it growing in the nursery's garden and in other gardens, as well how it has performed in our crops out in the nursery field. We will incorporate comments that we receive from others as well, and welcome hear from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if they have knowledge of cultural information we do not mention that would aid others in growing Rhaphiolepis umbellata.