Native to Japan and China. Trouble-free shrub for light shade or tough soil conditions, with interesting, showy flowers and fruit. Grows moderately fast to 6 ft. tall and wide (often much more in the wild), with spreading branches that leaf out early in spring. Leaves are bright green, oval, prominently veined and toothed, to about 4 in. long and 2 in. wide. Single white flowers, 2 in. across, appear in late spring and early summer, followed by pea-size, jet black, shiny berries, four per cluster, in fall and persisting through winter. Fruit is quite toxic.
Thin out overcrowded mature plants by cutting back old branches to base after flowering.