Pachysandra (often called "spurge") is a hardy perennial usually used as a ground cover. This evergreen plant thrives even in full shade and is often planted under trees or in other areas where there is little sunlight. If planted in full sun, the pachysandra will grow poorly or become scorched, according to Clemson University. There are two types of pachysandra commonly grown in gardens in the United States: P. terminalis and P. procumbens. Each has several varieties.
Pachysandra terminalis 'Green Carpet'
'Green Carpet' is one of the most popular varieties of P. terminalis, according to Ohio State University. This cultivar is desirable for its dark, glossy green leaves, tolerance of cold temperatures and dense, compact growing habit. Unlike most P. terminalis cultivars, this plant does not trail or spread. Instead, it remains neatly mounded.
Pachysandra terminalis 'Variegata'
'Variegata' has variegated (patterned) leaves. They are dark green with cream-colored blotches on the edges. In fact, this type of pachysandra is also called "silver edge" for that very reason. It is very slow-growing, according to the University of Connecticut, but quite striking once established.
Pachysandra procumbens 'Alleghany'
'Alleghany' is the original P. procumbens. Native to the United States, this plant features blue-green, heavily veined leaves and can grow up to 12 inches tall. The spring-blooming flowers are fragrant and so light pink that they appear almost white.
Pachysandra procumbens 'Pixie'
This small, dwarf version of P. procumbens averages only 4 inches it height and grows in a clumping manner. Otherwise, it appears identical to 'Alleghany'.
Pachysandra produmbens 'Eco Treasure'
'Eco Treasure' was developed in Georgia and is the only variety of P. procumbens that features variegated leaves. Otherwise, it is the same size as 'Alleghany'.