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Nandina domestica
(Family Berberidaceae)

(ASNSW Meeting - March 2014)
(Printable Version - PDF file - Free Adobe Reader download)

Presented by Paul Henry

Paul Henry presenting Bird (plant) of the MonthThe Nandina is an ornamental garden plant from Japan. It grows to about 1 metre in height. It will grow quite thick although I have never had it all that thick in my aviaries. I have seen it in different aviaries where it has a lot more sunlight and it will grow quite tall and quite thick and the finches will nest in it.

They are an easy plant to look after and they look quite nice. They are an evergreen in most climates although may lose their leaves in extremely cold climate conditions during winter. They get little red berries at one time of the year which is usually around Christmas time.

The finches don't seem to touch it much but if you have canaries, they would strip it right back.

From my experience I don't think that there are any detrimental aspects although it should be noted that Wikipedia does state that:

"All parts of the plant are poisonous, containing hydrocyanic acid, and could potentially be fatal if ingested. The plant is placed in Toxicity Category 4, the category "generally considered non-toxic to humans," however, the berries are considered toxic to cats and grazing animals. The berries also contain alkaloids such as nantenine, which is used in scientific research as an antidote to MDMA.  Birds are generally not affected by these toxins and will disperse the seeds through their droppings.  However, excessive consumption of the berries will kill birds such as Cedar Waxwings.

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