An evergreen shrub 8 to 12 ft high, sometimes a low tree, with downy branchlets. Leaves alternate, ovate or oval, 1 to 11⁄2 in. long, deep shining green above, very downy beneath, furnished with stipules; both the leaves and stipules are toothed. Flowers fragrant, borne on short, branching corymbs, the yellow stamens, as in A. petiolaris, giving the flower whatever beauty it possesses. A rather tender shrub, introduced from Chile about 1830. It is only hardy against a wall at Kew, and was killed or badly damaged in many gardens in the cold winters of 1961-3. It survived both at Edinburgh, however, and is 10 ft high there in a sheltered position. The leaves have a bitter taste.
A. serrata Ruiz & Pav. – This species, also a native of Chile, has been confused with the preceding. The true plant has downy branchlets like A. dentata, but the leaves are larger, not felted beneath, often nearly glabrous. The inflorescence too is very distinct, the flowers being arranged in a globose umbel borne at the end of a slender, downy stalk, up to 11⁄2 in. long.
From the Supplement (Vol. V)
A. serrata – For a note on this species by A. J. Anderson, see The Garden (Journ. R.H.S.), Vol. 102, pp. 37-8 (1977). At that time it had been growing for eight or nine years in a south-facing border in Anderson's garden at Englefield Green, Surrey. He remarks that precautionary cuttings, if not needed, make excellent pot-plants.