Plant Description

Duranta erecta

Clipped Duranta Sheenas Gold in the Sydney garden of Alida Gray

Duranta erecta 'Sheena's Gold' (syn. Duranta repens 'Sheena's Gold') is an excellent, easy-to-grow, densely foliaged cultivar of this shrub for our climate, reaching a height of 3 m, although it can be kept shorter by pruning in late winter, and can be clipped into formal shapes or a hedge. It could also be trained into a small tree with a single trunk, if desired. The colloquial name for Duranta is pigeonberry.

The pendulous flowers are mauve, but its main attraction is its beautiful gold-coloured leaves. In a shady site, the leaves take on a wonderful lime colour, and the shrub will still grow quite well in this position. It can cope with very ordinary soils. Another cultivar is 'Sheena's Lime Glow', which has similar growth habit but lime-coloured leaves. I also have an unusual cultivar with green leaves splashed with white - I don't know of its cultivar name but it grows to 2 or 3 m in height. The species hails from areas in Central and Southern America.

'Sheena's Gold' forms an effective partner to blue or purple flowers (such as Salvia), or with variegated yellow/green foliage plants (such as the Iresine cultivar shown in the top photo); or it can echo the hue of yellow flowers from plants grown nearby.

Orange berries which may sometimes develop after flowering are said to be poisonous to people and pets.This plant is regarded by some authorities as a potential weed as it can escape into bushland by self-seeding, so be wary of this.


Duranta erecta
Flowers in March.
Plant Family: Verbenaceae