Shrub or tree 2–10(–16) m. Bark smooth, brown. Branchlets greyish brown with appressed pubescence; terminal buds pubescent. Leaves leathery, 4.5–9 × 2–3 cm, oblong to elliptic, upper surface shiny green and glabrous, lower surface pale to yellowish green with appressed pubescence, 10–12 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins entire or sparsely serrate towards the apex, apex short-acuminate; petiole 0.3–0.5 cm long, pubescent or glabrous, reddish towards base. Flowers axillary and solitary; pedicel ~2 cm long, slender, pubescent or glabrous. Bracteoles 0.2–0.3 cm long, caducous; sepals ovate-lanceolate to triangular, 0.7–0.8 cm long, sparsely pubescent outside; petals white, ovate to oblong, ~0.9 cm long; stamens ~25. Fruit black, globose, ~1 cm diameter. Flowering May to July, fruiting August to October (China). Kobuski 1947, Ming & Bartholomew 2007. Distribution CHINA: Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, eastern Guizhou, southeastern Hubei, southern Hunan, Jiangxi, southwestern Zhejiang; VIETNAM. Habitat Evergreen forests and thickets on mountain slopes between 100 and 1300 (1800) m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 7–8. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration NT116.
Adinandra millettii is apparently extremely rare in cultivation, the only plants traced for the current work being two in Vancouver and two in North Carolina, the latter vegetative propagations from the former. The University of British Columbia accession was made in 1988, from seed collected by Peter Wharton, Peter Bristol and Lawrence Lee (no collection number) at 840 m near Huangshan
City, Anhui. Cuttings were obtained from this by J.C. Raulston in 1991 and at least one specimen was planted in his arboretum (the second growing there now is a cutting from this original). This is now c.3 m tall and apparently happy, although somewhat shaded. It resembles a small-leaved laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), with attractive, very glossy evergreen leaves, and was in abundant bud when seen in May 2006. The flowers, however, are insignificant. The trees in Vancouver are almost 3 m tall, and seem to be totally hardy there (P. Wharton, pers. comm. 2007). Although the sample is limited, A. millettii appears to be an adaptable and perhaps useful small evergreen tree.