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List of Aucuba japonica Types and Cultivars (Varieties)

One of the main things for success with Aucuba japonica – the Spotted Laurel – is to ensure that you choose the right cultivar variety for your garden or container. As mentioned in the main article Spotted Laurels are available in two distinct plant forms – being male and female – with the one exception as far as this list is concerned, being Aucuba japonica ‘Rozannie’ which has both male and female flowers on the same plant.

The parents of the group – Aucuba japonica – have both male and female flowered plants – so were able to produce variable offspring, whilst having the basic characteristics of the evergreen shrub, also have vivid markings on the leathery foliage. The variegations are varied, and have the added advantage of being on female plants. This enables a two dimensional facet to the shrub – colourful evergreen foliage and bright scarlet berries in the right conditions.

Most of the cultivars mentioned arose from different ‘sports’ – rather than as seedlings. It is worth mentioning that most mentioned here are sold under many different names – not always able to pinpoint correctly – other than the two AGM types mentioned.

Aucuba PicturataAucuba japonica Crotonifolia Aucuba Gold Dust Aucuba Mr GoldStrike

Aucuba j Crotonifolia  | Aucuba j 'Gold Dust'  | Aucuba j. 'Variegata'  |  Aucuba j. 'Picturata' Image above

Together with that, the foliage is often variable on the same plant. Sometimes vividly marked, sometimes with shoots reverting back to green - cut them out!

List of Aucuba japonica shrubs

  • Aucuba japonica – The Spotted Laurel parent of the group, is evergreen with dark green glossy leaves – sometimes toothed around the perimeter. The foliage is rarely marked other than a few spots which gives it its common name. It is often wrongly assumed that this plain looking shrub is always male and needed for pollination of female flowers on the choicer-looking plants listed below. Not so – for there are both male and female forms.
    As with all the listed plants, the flowers appear in late spring. Erect panicles of small flowers having brownish red petals, with the female plants differentiated in that they also have yellow anthers (the pollen bearing parts.) Height to around 1.4 – 1.5 meters with slightly less spread.
  • Aucuba japonica ‘Rozannie’ AGM – has both male and female flowers on same plant, so mature plants are reasonably assured of having berries. Dark green foliage, rarely if ever variegated. Not often reaching more than 1 metre height and spread – having a very compact habit..
  • Aucuba japonica ‘Golden King’ AGM - male flowered cultivar, so no berries – but with well marked leaves of golden yellow splashes – accented in the large leathery leaves. A good showy variety if you are prepared to forego berries.
  • Aucuba japonica ‘Crotonifolia’ AGM female with broadly spear-shaped leaves splashed with golden yellow blotches rather than spots. Takes it’s varietal name from the attractive houseplant by name of Croton. Height to 1.5 metres; spectacular when in berry.
  • Aucuba japonica ‘Gold Dust’ – female cultivar with brightly marked golden yellow spots on mid green leaves. Ht to 1.5m.
  • Aucuba japonica ‘Picturata’ – has broad splashes of light yellow in centres of leaves – variable in that some leaves will be heavily marked and others simply with light green foliage. I have found this one to be troubled by black leaf spots which do not respond to any treatment I know of.


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