The mountain pieris, or fetterbush, is an attractive evergreen shrub growing to about two metres, with an attractive display of clusters of pink flower buds in autumn. They wait through the winter before opening in long lines of small white bells drooping below the curved stems the following spring.
The Pieris genus includes only seven species, most of them growing naturally in East Asia with the fetterbush the only one native to America. Growing sparsely on the slopes of the southern Appalachians, the shrub is poisonous in all its parts, so is not grazed by wild animals such as deer and hares.
Japanese pieris (or lily-of-the-valley bush, Pieris japonica) varieties are widely available from market-type sales outlets but are not usually very hardy in Finland. The mountain pieris has shown itself completely hardy, at least in the south of Finland, and makes good company for rhododendrons. Despite this, the shrub is not easily found at nurseries. Even in America it is seldom seen in gardens, although it is both beautiful and healthy.