Fine Art

Helwingia japonica (Montage s3)

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Campanulids
Ordo: Aquifoliales

Familia: Helwingiaceae
Genus: Helwingia
Species: Helwingia japonica
Subspecies & varieties: H. j. var. hypoleuca – H. j. subsp. japonica – H. j. subsp. liukiuensis – H. j. var. papillosa

Helwingia japonica (Thunb.) F.Dietr., 1817
Native distribution areas:

Continental: Asia-Temperate
Regional: China
China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, East Himalaya
Regional: Eastern Asia
Japan, Korea, Nansei-shoto, Taiwan
Continental: Asia-Tropical
Regional: Southeastern Asia

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Dietrich, F.G., 1817. Nachtrag zum vollständigen Lexicon der Gärtnerei und Botanik 3:660.

Additional references

Govaerts, R.H.A. 2003. World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. [unavailable for the public] Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Helwingia japonica in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2021 Oct 12. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Helwingia japonica in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2021 Oct 12. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2021. Helwingia japonica. Published online. Accessed: Oct 12 2021. 2021. Helwingia japonica. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 12 Oct 2021.
Hassler, M. 2021. Helwingia japonica. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2021. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2021 Oct 12. Reference page.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Helwingia japonica in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 09-Oct-10.

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Japanische Helwingie
日本語: ハナイカダ
中文: 青荚叶

Helwingia japonica, the Japanese helwingia, is a species of Helwingia native to East Asia.[1][2] Helwingia japonica is part of the genus Helwingia and the family Helwingiaceae.[1]


Helwingia japonica is a dioecious shrub whose height varies between 1–2 metres (3.3–6.6 ft),[3] and may spread 1–1.5 metres (3.3–4.9 ft),[4] with leaves of 6–12 centimetres (2.4–4.7 in) in length.[3] The lateral and midvein are concave, and the leaves' colors are green.[5] Flowers grow from the center of the leaf midribs, taking the shape of a simple umbel inflorescence. In male species, 3–10 small green or purplish- green flowers grow but only 3–5 will open simultaneously. The female plants have 1–3 flowers. Flowering takes place between April to May, and fruiting is from August to September.[6]

The Helwingia japonica is a dioecy plant. This means that distinctive sexual functions can be found in the male and female plants. In the male plant, the flowers have a small calyx with 3–5 stamens and one long pedicel. The female plant has a short pedicel and one pistil, with 3–5 stigma branches. Its flowers contain no stamens, but have an inferior ovary that has 3–5 ovules.[6] For reproduction to take place, it requires pollination. The female plants flowers will then turn into fruits. The fruits are small black or red berries.[4]

They can be grown in places that are moist with good drainage, such as in partially shaded areas. It can tolerate temperatures as low as −7 °C (19 °F). The plant requires low maintenance, but to produce fruit, it requires both male and female plants. Mature seed can be collected from fruit be put to storage or sowed after being rinsed and left to dry.[5]

Helwingia japonica is found in moist rich soil in forests and thickets in hills and low mountains at elevations of 100–3,400 metres (330–11,150 ft) meters in Japan, Bhutan, South Korea, Myanmar, and in multiple Chinese provinces.[4][7][8]

The plants are edible. The young leaves are used for culinary purposes, such as being cooked with rice or boiled. The flowers can also be eaten.[8]

One source mentions the use of the plant for medical purposes, such to activate blood circulation, remove blood stasis, help with urination pain, and the use of the fruit to relieve stomach aches.[5]

The species is divided into the following subspecies and varieties:

Helwingia japonica subsp. japonica
Helwingia japonica subsp. liukiuensis
Helwingia japonica subsp. taiwaniana
Helwingia japonica var. formosana
Helwingia japonica var. hypoleuca
Helwingia japonica var. papillosa
Helwingia japonica var. parviflora


Roskov Y.; Kunze T.; Orrell T.; Abucay L.; Paglinawan L.; Culham A.; Bailly N.; Kirk P.; Bourgoin T.; Baillargeon G.; Decock W.; De Wever A.; Didžiulis V., eds. (2014). "Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2014 Annual Checklist". Species 2000: Reading, UK. Retrieved 26 May 2014.[bare URL]
"Helwingia japonica (Thunberg ex Murray) F. Dietrich var. japonica". Prof. Summer's Web Garden. Retrieved 2021-12-14.
"Helwingia japonica". RHS Gardening. Retrieved 2021-12-14.
"Japanese helwingia (Helwingia japonica) profile". RayaGarden. 2021-03-02. Retrieved 2021-12-14.
Wu, Ting; Tang, Ju; Huang, Shuang-Quan (2020). "Foraging behavior and pollination efficiency of generalist insects in an understory dioecious shrub Helwingia japonica". American Journal of Botany. 107 (9): 1274–1282. doi:10.1002/ajb2.1524. ISSN 1537-2197. PMID 32895943. S2CID 221540882.
"Helwingia japonica". Flora of China. Retrieved 2022-01-06.
"Helwingia japonica - Dietr". PFAF Plant Database. Retrieved 2021-12-14.

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