This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(corium, skin, leather; a shrub used for tanning leather was described as frutex coriarius, by Pliny). Coriariaceae. Shrubs or perennial herbs grown chiefly for their ornamental fruits.
Leaves deciduous, entire, 3-9-nerved, opposite and distichous: flowers polygamous-monoecious in slender racemes, small; petals and sepals 5; stamens 10: fruit berry-like, consisting of 5 1-seeded nutlets inclosed by the enlarged and colored petals. - About 8 species in Himalayas and E. Asia, Medit. region, N. Zeal, and S. Amer. Ornamental shrubs or herbs, with slender arching branches imitating pinnate leaves, and with very showy yellow, red or black fruit The leaves of some species are used for tanning leather; the fruits are poisonous in some species, edible in others. C. japonica has proved hardy with slight protection in Mass., and C. terminalis seems to be of the same hardiness; the other species are more tender. They grow in almost any good garden soil, and prefer sunny position. Prop, readily by seeds and greenwood cuttings in summer under glass; also by suckers and layers.
Gray. Fig. 1057. Shrub, 2-3, sometimes to 10 ft.: branches quadrangular: leaves nearly sessile, ovate or ovate-lanceolate, 3-nerved, smooth, 2-4 in. long: flowers in axillary racemes from the branches of last year: fruit becoming bright red in summer, changing to violetblack when ripe. Japan. B.M. 7509. G.F. 10:343 (adapted in Fig. 1057). S.I.F. 2:58. R.H. 1913, p. 79.
Fig. 1057. Coriaria japonica. (X 1/3)
Hemsl. Herbaceous or suffruticose, 2-3 ft.: branches quadrangular: leaves nearly sessile, broad-ovate to ovate-lanceolate, 5-9-nerved, scabrous on the veins beneath, 1-3 in.: flowers in terminal racemes on shoots of the current year: fruit black. Sikkim, W. China. variety xanthocarpa, Rehd.& Wilson. fruit yellow. Sikkim. B.M. 8525. R.H. 1907:160. G.C. III. 34:282. J.H. III. 49:443. F.S.R. 3:106. M.D. 1897:1. - A very ornamental plant, keeping its yellow fruit from July until late in fall; being herbaceous, it is easier to protect from frost than the former. Originally introduced into cultivated as C. nepalensis.
C. himalayensis, Hort. Said to have persistent leaves and edible fruits Possibly not different from C. nepalensis. - C. myrtifolia, Linn. Shrub, 4-10 ft.: leaves 3-nerved, glabrous: flowers greenish, from the old wood: fruit black, poisonous. Medit. region. Yields a black dye. - C. nepalensis. Wall. Shrub, 8-10 ft.: leaves 3-5-nerved, glabrous: flowers brownish: fruit black. Himalayas. - C. sarmentdsa, Forst. Suffruticose, procumbent: racemes axillary, on young branches. B.M. 2470. - The wineberry shrub of the natives. The berries yield a pleasant drink, but the seeds are poisonous. Source of the New Zeal. toot-poison, which is very destructive to human and animal life. -C. sinica, Maxim. Allied to C. japonica. Shrub to 18 ft.: leaves oval or broadly elliptic, abruptly short-pointed, 1 1/2 - 3 in. long: fruit black. Cent. China. Alfred Rehder.