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Allegheny pachysandra

Allegheny pachysandra is a semi-evergreen ground cover.

Allegheny pachysandra is a semi-evergreen ground cover that is native to the Southeastern United States.  It is less well known than the popular Japanese pachysandra, but serves much the same purpose in the landscape.

Botanical name:

Pachysandra procumbens

All common names:

Allegheny pachysandra, Allegheny spurge, mountain spurge, mountain pachysandra

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Ground cover,
  • Perennial

Native Locale:

  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Patio/sidewalk

Size Range:

  • Small plant (6-12 inches)

Light Exposure:

  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily),
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8,
  • Zone 9

Soil Preference:

  • Acid soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil

Seasons of Interest:

  • early spring,
  • mid spring,
  • late spring,
  • early summer,
  • midsummer,
  • late summer,
  • early fall,
  • mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Fragrant,
  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Creeping

Growth Rate:

  • Slow,
  • Moderate

More Information:

Size and Method of spreading

Allegheny pachysandra grows only 6 to 12 inches tall and is a colonizing ground cover.   Colonizing ground covers produce underground stems that spread out horizontally and shallowly, produce roots and then send up new shoots.  Colonizing ground covers have potential to be strong growers, but Allegheny pachysandra generally is easy to manage.

Plant Care

Best growth is in moist, acid, well drained soils.  Avoid full sun sites and poorly drained soils.  In mild climates this plant is semi-evergreen.  It may need some winter protection in colder climates.

Disease, pests, and problems

No common serious problems.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Resistant to deer.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to the Southeastern United States.

Leaf description

The simple, alternate leaves are semi-evergreen (deciduous in colder climates) and have coarsely toothed margins .  The are somewhat wedge-shaped and because they are clustered at the ends of the stems, they may appear to be whorled.

Flower description

The small, white flowers are borne in spike-like clusters in early spring.  They are lightly fragrant.

Fruit description

The fruit are small dry capsules, seldom produced in any quantity.  Not ornamentally important.

Location of Pachysandra procumbens (Allegheny pachysandra) at the Arboretum