Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Serissa genus has only one species (Serissa foetida Lam.) (syn. Serissa japonica), commonly called snowrose. It is generally used in bonsais.
It is an evergreen or semi-evergreen shrub, 45-50 cm high, with oval, deep green, rather thick leaves 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. It is also valued for its rough, grey trunk which tends to get lighter in colour with age.
The Serissa flowers practically all year round, but particularly from early spring to near autumn (Thanksgiving or Christmas). 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. Fertilizing is especially important during Serissa’s long blooming period.
Many cultivars with double flowers or variegated leaves are also available. ‘Pink Snow Rose’ has pale pink flowers and leaves edged off-white. Ohter cultivars include : , 'Variegata', 'Variegated Pink', 'Pink Mystic', 'Snowflake', 'Snowleaves', 'Mt. Fuji', 'Kyoto' and 'Sapporo'.
Serissa is one of the most common Bonsai, especially in Japan. It is not a difficult to maintain bonsai, but is very fussy. It responds adversely by dropping leaves if over watered, under watered, if its too cold, or too hot or even if just moved to a new location. The plant usually grows back to health when put back to better conditions.
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