Houttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’

Houttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’ on 8-1-11, #68-25.

Houttuynia, Bishop’s Weed, Chameleon Plant, etc.

Houttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’

Hoo-TY-nee-ah kor-DAY-tah

Houttuynia cordata Thunb. is the correct and accepted scientific name for the Bishop’s Weed. It was named and first described by Carl Peter Thunberg. Tropicos says he first published the plant description in Kongl. Vetenskaps Academiens Nya Handlingar in 1783 while the International Plant Names Index says Flora Japonica in 1784. He also named and described the genus in the same publication.

Plants of the World Online by Kew says Houttuynia cordata is the only species in the genus.


Houttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’ on 4-15-12, #86-44. The leaves aren’t always the same color.

The Houttuynia cordata is native to Japan, Korea, southern China. It is perennial in USDA zones 5a-9b. It is especially fond of moist soils and will even grow partially submerged in water. This is one of several plants given to me by Mary Botler when I was living in Leland, Mississippi in 2010 or 2011. I really liked this plant because I hadn’t had it long enough not to like it. I liked the foliage and the flowers plus the very interesting smell of the leaves. Kind of reminded me of fish with lemon pepper.

The edible roots are used in Zhe’ergen in China.


Houtttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’ on 4-15-12, #86-45.

It grows very well in partly shady areas but will also grow in more sunny sites. It likes moisture but is also somewhat drought tolerant. This is one plant that will definitely not stay where you put it and will pop up several feet away from where you originally had it. In fact, this plant will become invasive and can become hard to manage. But, if you are like me, you wouldn’t mind it growing here and there. I read one report of it coming back after several years of it being removed.


Houtttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’ on 5-1-12, #88-6.

Many people like this plant I am sure but I have never met any. The fact that they can run rampant would be a good reason, I guess. Personally, I enjoyed it but maybe that was because I only had a couple of years with it.

I didn’t bring any of these with me when I moved to Missouri, but I think I should find a source since they are hardy here. Then I will have some to share.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on the “Like” if you have visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading.


Please leave a comment. I would like to hear from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.