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The Skimmia is known for its valuable fruit decoration. With this she brings color into the dreary winter time. Whether as a winter decoration on the balcony, in the garden bed or in the apartment - what should you know about the fruits of the Skimmia?

Skimmia fruits are poisonous

External features of the fruit

The fruits of the Skimmia are as red as blood or, depending on the variety, sometimes pink or almost black. They stand on long, brown-red stalks and skillfully attract attention.

Here are their other characteristics:

  • standing together in umbels
  • drupes
  • round to ovate
  • glittering
  • smooth-skinned
  • contrasting with the dark green foliage
  • 6 to 12 mm in diameter
  • contain 1 to 5 leathery chambers, each with a seed
  • Seeds are ovate

Only female plants produce fruit

Don't naively buy a skimmia from a garden center expecting to see fruit in the fall. The reason: Not all Skimmia form fruit! The Skimmia is dioecious. Only the female plants produce fruit.

Examples of female strains on the market include 'Temptation' and 'Veitchii'. They are often declared as 'fruit skimmias'. Male varieties include 'Marlot', 'Rubella' and 'Finchy' among others. These are referred to as 'flower skimmias'.

Distinguish male from female plants

You can best tell the male from the female specimens at the flowering time. The male flowers smell much more intensively than the female flowers. If you are sure, you can safely cut off the withered male flowers.

Lately there are also hermaphroditic Skimmia

Hermaphrodite cultivars have also been on the market for a number of years. They form bisexual flowers. Their fruits, like those of the female plants, appear from October and remain until March. These self-pollinating varieties are known as 'Skimmie reevesiana'.

What factors contribute to a rich fruit load?

  • sunny to partially shaded location
  • fertilize regularly
  • water plentifully until autumn
  • do not cut off female inflorescences
  • Thin out immediately after flowering
  • at least 1 male specimen for every 5 female specimens


Warning: as tempting as these stone fruits may look. They are slightly toxic due to the alkaloids contained in the stone core!

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