Enkianthus nudipes (Honda) Ueno

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Alasdair and Panny Laing


Tom Clark (2023)

Recommended citation
Clark, T. (2023), 'Enkianthus nudipes' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/enkianthus/enkianthus-nudipes/). Accessed 2024-05-29.


Common Names

  • Ko-abura-tsutsuji


  • Enkianthus subsessilis subsp. nudipes (Honda) Kitam.
  • Meisteria nudipes Honda
  • Tritomodon nudipes (Honda) Honda


Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
(of fruit) Vernacular English term for winged samaras (as in e.g. Acer Fraxinus Ulmus)


Tom Clark (2023)

Recommended citation
Clark, T. (2023), 'Enkianthus nudipes' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/enkianthus/enkianthus-nudipes/). Accessed 2024-05-29.

Deciduous shrub 1–2 m tall. Branchlets obscurely quadrangular, glabrous. Leaves 5–7, crowded at apex of branchlets, membranaceous; petiole 1–4 mm long, glabrous or sparsely pilose; blade elliptic or obovate, 1– 2.5 × 0.6–1.5 cm, apex obtuse or short acute and terminating into a gland, base gradually narrowed, attenuate into petiole, with many minute hookedly aristate teeth, upper surface glabrous, except short pubescent on midrib, lower surface glabrous or sparsely pubescent. Inflorescences terminal, racemose, 2–3 cm long, 3–9-flowered. Peduncle and pedicels glabrous, peduncle 1–1.5 mm long, pedicel 0.5– 1.5 cm long. Calyx broadly campanulate, ca. 2 mm long, punctate hairy outside, deeply 5-lobed; lobes ovate, acute, short pilose on margin. Corolla urceolate, white, c. 4 mm long, glabrous outside, shallowly 5-lobed; lobes widely ovate, obtuse, c. 0.8 mm long, strongly reflexed, short pilose on margin. Stamens 10; filaments villous; anthers with 2 awns on upper dorsal side. Capsule globose, 5. ridged, c. 2 mm long. Seeds fusiform, slightly arched, reticulate, not winged, 2–2.5 mm long. Flowers mid-May to mid-June. (Iwatsuki 1993).

Distribution  Japan central Honshu (Tokai and Kii regions), Shikoku (Kochi Prefecture)

Habitat Mountains, open, rocky places; 400–1000 m asl.

Conservation status Not evaluated (NE)

Closely related to E. subsessilis, which has urceolate flowers borne on white-hairy racemes (Ohwi 1965), this species bears slender, pendulous racemes of small, white campanulate to urceolate flowers – a charming if not subtle presentation – on a slender, relatively small shrub to 2 m. A key difference between the two taxa is that the current species bears glabrous racemes. E. nudipes is poorly represented in cultivation in North America and is apparently not in cultivation in Europe or only to an exceedingly limited degree. On a 2018 collecting trip – Plant Collecting Collaborative 2018 Honshu Expedition (collection number PCC2018-HON-050) – staff from partnering institutions in Japan along with staff from Polly Hill Arboretum (Massachusetts, USA), Arnold Arboretum (Massachusetts, USA) and Morris Arboretum (Pennsylvania, USA) secured seed which has been distributed to several North American gardens. Now that this species has a toe-hold in North American arboreta, time will tell if it can establish a firm foothold as is the case with several other Japanese species.