Photinia serrulata · Chinese photinia · China
P. × fraseri · red tip photinia

Rosaceae (rose family)
Photinia serrulata leaves. From Trees of Stanford and Environs, Ronald Bracewell

A large shrub or small tree with attractive coppery reddish foliage in spring, P. serrulata is commonly used for roadside planting. A survivor from early planting in the arboretum, east of the Angel of Grief, has reached small tree stature. The large oval leaves, up to 8 inches, are sharply toothed at first but later leaves are less so. Large white flower clusters are replaced by bunches of red berries in summer and fall. See photinia at 853 Esplanada Way, and on Santa Ynez Street opposite 713. An old specimen is at the right front corner of the Gould Center, 575 Salvatierra Street, near Campus Drive East. Peter Coutts Circle is ringed with specimens maintained in tree form.

Examples of P. × fraseri, a smaller tree with simpler nonprickly leaves, are on Bowdoin Street opposite the Stanford Campus Recreation Association and numerous other campus locations, including the north side of Littlefield Center, Panama Street, the north courtyard of the School of Education, and 315 Bonair Siding. It is sometimes sheared to form a hedge.

Nomenclature Note

Horticultural references such as Sunset Western Garden Book list P. serrulata as a synonym of P. serratifolia. The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, however, considers P. serrulata a synonymn of P. bodinieri. Flora of China does not mention the name P. serrulata at all, and lists P. serratifolia and P. bodinieri as separate species, with the latter having pilose inflorescences and the former glabrous inflorescences (and petioles usually 2–4 cm). More investigation is needed into the identification of the “P. serrulata” specimens mentioned in this entry.

Related Material: Stanford Grounds Plant Information Sheet. List No.12, p.10.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the P. serrulata entry in the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. John Rawlings added all but the first location of P. × fraseri. Sairus Patel added the Nomenclature Note Jan 2018.