Skimmia is a small genus of hardy, evergreen shrubs and trees favoured for their showy fruits, aromatic foliage and flowers. They originate from warm temperate, wooded regions ranging from the Himalayas to Southeast Asia, including Japan and China. Many cultivars have been produced for garden use. Skimmia leaves are alternately arranged and usually oval or lance-shaped. Its white or yellow flowers are star-shaped, borne in spherical clusters and strongly scented in some species. These lead on to fleshy, spherical, shiny red or black (occasionally white) fruits on female or hermaphrodite plants - that in most cases, have been pollinated. Male plants produce dark red flower buds in autumn and winter. A compact shrub which tolerates shade and neglect, Skimmia is a useful plant for many situations, including banks and slopes. It can be a good container plant when young, is fully hardy and tolerant of pollution.