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A semi-evergreen or deciduous shrub of erect, thin habit, 10 ft and upwards high in this country; branches slender, at first only semi-woody; perfectly glabrous. Leaves alternate, variable in shape, usually ovate and tapered towards both ends, sometimes heart-shaped at the base, pointed, quite entire, 11⁄2 to 4 in. long, 1 to 3 in. wide, sometimes much larger, glaucous and perfectly glabrous on both surfaces; stalk slender and about as long as the blade. Inflorescence a lax terminal panicle bearing numerous flowers. Corolla bright yellow, tubular, 11⁄2 in. long, 1⁄6 in. wide, five-lobed at the mouth where it is 3⁄8 in. wide, downy outside, glabrous within; calyx green, tubular, 1⁄2 in. long, with five pointed triangular teeth, glabrous; stamens five, 1 in. long. Bot. Mag., t. 2837.
Native of the Argentine, Brazil, and other parts of S. America; introduced in 1827. Although an ally of the common tobacco plant this is very different in general appearance, being an almost tree-like shrub of lax growth. It flowers from June onwards and is quite ornamental, the yellow flowers contrasting well with the vividly glaucous foliage. It was cultivated for several years in a sheltered sunny nook at Kew, but was not genuinely hardy there, being killed in hard winters. Even so, it is well worth cultivating, especially in the warmer counties.
In the warmer parts of the world it frequently escapes from cultivation and has even become naturalised.