Sacred bamboo (Nandina domestica
) is an evergreen or semi-evergreen woody shrub that can grow up to 8 feet in height. N. domestica
leaves start out reddish bronze, eventually turning green and then reddish in the fall. The inner bark of N. domestica
is yellow, a characteristic of many plants in the Berberidaceae family. Flowers bloom May through July, where it produces hundreds of pink and cream, fragrant flowers. Dense clusters of fleshy, spherical berries form between September and April of the following year. They are initially light green and ripen to red in the winter.
Sacred bamboo contains cyanogenic glycosides and alkaloids (nantenine). The berries contain the highest concentration of cyanogenic glycosides which convert to toxic hydrogen cyanide (HCN) when damaged or chewed.