sacred bamboo
Nandina domestica Thunb.


Nandina domestica invades forests throughout the Southeast United States. It is a small, erect shrub that grows up to 8 ft. (2.4 m) tall.
Leaves are alternate, large, bi- or tri-pinnately compound with small, 1-2 in. (2.5-5.1 cm) long leaflets. The older stems have bark with long, linear furrows. The overlapping leaf sheaths give the main stem the appearance of bamboo, hence the name.
Flowering occurs in the spring, when small, white flowers develop in large panicles at the ends of the stems. Flowers have 3-6 reflexed petals.
Fruits are green berries that mature to a bright red and are very attractive to birds.
Ecological Threat
Nandina domestica is shade tolerant, which allows it to invade forest edges and interiors. It is native to eastern Asia and India and was first introduced to North America in the early 1800s. It has been planted widely as an ornamental and often escapes from old plantings.


Selected Images


EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Magnoliidae
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Nandina
Subject: Nandina domestica Thunb.

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
heavenly bamboo, nanten


Plants - Shrub or Subshrub