T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Serissa Snowflake (Serissa foetida)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Asterids
Order:       Gentianales
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Serissa
Species: S. foetida
Binomial name: Serissa foetida
Synonym: Serissa japonica
Common name: Serissa Snowflake, Snowrose, Tree of a thousand stars (These are different cultivars of Serissa foetida)

Serissa is a genus of flowering plants in the family Rubiaceae, containing only one species, Serissa foetida. It is native to open sub-tropical woodlands and wet meadows in Southeast Asia, India, China and Japan.
It is an evergreen or semi-evergreen shrub, 45–60 cm high, with oval, deep green, rather thick leaves with white edges that have an unpleasant smell if bruised (hence its name foetida).
The upright stems branch in all directions and form a wide bushy dome. It is grown for its neat habit, good coverage of branches and long flowering time baring white flowers in Spring Summer and autumn. The 4- to 6- lobed flowers are funnel-shaped and 1 cm wide. They first appear as pink buds but turn to a profusion of white flowers.
It is also valued in bonsai cultivation for its rough, grey trunk which tends to get lighter in colour with age.