Characteristics of Japanese Boxthorn Tree (Serissa japonica) in the Wild

Serissa japonica
Japanese boxthorn in English, known as Snowrose and Tree of a thousand stars, is a flowering plant in the Rubiaceae family native to Asia which includes India, China, and Japan.

The Japanese boxthorn tree was formerly named Serissa foetida but has now been changed to Serissa japonica. The name ‘Foetida’ refers to an unpleasant odor, which is emitted if the tree or leaves are injured.

Japanese boxthorn belongs to the three most widely used as a bonsai in America and Europe. Not difficult to treat, but very spoiled (easily wither and die).

Beginner bonsai fans who intend to shape this tree will actually destroy the tree if you do not know in-depth information about the background of this tree. Japanese boxthorn can respond to human treatment with signs of shedding leaves if there is too much water, not enough water, or the temperature is too cold or too hot, and it will also wither even if it moves from the wild to a new location.

The good news, Japanese boxthorn trees will be healthy again when planted in soil and temperature conditions exactly like their habitat.


Characteristics of Japanese Boxthorn Leaf

Serissa japonica Leaf
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The leaves are oval, dark green, rather thick, and the smell is unpleasant when injured.


Characteristics of Japanese Boxthorn Flower

Serissa japonica Flower
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The flowers are white, have 4-5 lobes, are funnel-shaped, and are about 1 cm wide. Japanese boxthorn flowers grow throughout the year, especially from early spring to near autumn.


Characteristics of Japanese Boxthorn Tree

Serissa japonica Tree
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Japanese boxthorn trees grow to form shrubs with a height of 50-60 cm.

There are many Japanese boxthorn cultivars, which can produce double flowers/piles and various leaves. One of them is Serissa japonica ‘Pink Snow Rose’ which has pale pink flowers and pale white leaves. Other popular cultivars include ‘Pink Mystic’, ‘Variegated Pink’, ‘Variegata’, ‘Snowflake’, ‘Snowleaves’, ‘Mt. Fuji’, ‘Kyoto’, and ‘Sapporo’.


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