2. Pachysandra terminalis Siebold & Zuccarini, Abh. Math.-Phys. Cl. Königl. Bayer. Akad. Wiss. 4(2): 142. 1845.
Japanese mountain spurge
Pachysandra terminalis var. variegata Norton
Herbs 10–30 cm, glabrous or glabrate. Leaves crowded distally and in clusters at middle and often at proximal part of stem; petiole 1–3 cm; blade slightly darker green adaxially, without mottling along veins, elliptic to widely elliptic or ovate, broadly ovate, or obovate, 5–8 × 2–4 cm, base cuneate to broadly cuneate, margins coarsely dentate distal to middle, apex (terminal tooth) acute or obtuse, abaxial surface puberulent along veins, adaxial surface glabrous, shiny (not evident when dried). Inflorescence 1, terminal. Staminate flowers 15–20, sessile, each subtended by 1 bract and 2 sepal-like bracteoles; tepals 2, ovate, 2.5–4 mm, margins ciliate, apex rounded. Pistillate flowers 2–7, pedicellate; tepals 2.5–4 mm, margins ciliate, apex rounded; ovary 2(or 3)-carpellate, apical lobes 2(or 3), locules 1(or 2) per carpel; styles 2; ovules 1 or 2 per locule. Fruits berries, to 15 mm diam., apex 2-lobed, glabrous. Seeds 1–3, brown or black, 4–6 × 2–3 mm; ecarunculate. 2n = 48.
Flowering Mar–Apr; fruiting Jul–Aug. Roadsides, railroad embankments, moist woods, along streams, near old homesites; 0–1000 m; introduced; Ont.; Conn., Del., Ill., Ind., Md., Mass., N.H., Ohio, Pa., R.I., Va., Wis.; e Asia.
Pachysandra terminalis, a native of China and Japan, is widely cultivated as an ornamental groundcover, usually in shaded situations, in temperate North America. The plants are more likely to spread vegetatively by rhizome pieces rather than by seeds. Many natural-appearing occurrences may be remnants of cultivation. The two sepal-like bracteoles of the staminate flowers are sometimes interpreted as tepals (R. B. Channell and C. E. Wood Jr. 1987).