sacred bamboo

Ranunculales > Berberidaceae > Nandina domestica Thunb.
Synonym(s): heavenly bamboo, nanten

Sacred bamboo 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. 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. The older stems have bark with long, linear furrows. The overlapping leaf sheaths give the main stem the appearance of bamboo, hence the name. Sacred bamboo 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.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

  • Weeds of the Week - USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area, Forest Health Protection

Selected Images from Invasive.org

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Plant(s); Young Plant
Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Twig(s)/Shoot(s); August
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); woody stem in September
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Foliage; in December
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s); in June
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s); May
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s); immature fruits
Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s); December
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); May
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); Fruiting plant in March
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Seed(s);
Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • Alabama - IPC List
  • Florida - EPPC list
  • Georgia - EPPC list
  • South Carolina - EPPC List
  • Tennessee - EPPC List
  • Texas - Invasive Plant List
  • Invasive Plants: Guide to Identification and the Impacts and Control of Common North American Species
  • Invasive Plant Atlas of the Mid-South


External Links


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USDA Forest Service Bugwood University of Georgia