||Found in temperate, warm-temperate and subtropical regions, this genus comprises only 35 species which include perennials, subshrubs and deciduous or evergreen shrubs and trees. They are vigorous, usually upright in habit, and have simple, often large leaves that can develop vivid colors in autumn. Their flowers lack petals and are most often a cream to beige tone, massed in racemes and followed by conspicuous berries that in many species are poisonous.
||CULTIVATION: Apart from variable frost hardiness and an intolerance of drought, most species are very easily grown in moist, moderately fertile, well-drained soil with a position in sun or partial shade. Pruning may be done at any time but winter is often best as it will not affect the flower and fruit production or autumn color. Propagate from seed, rooted basal shoots or from cuttings during the growing season.