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A deciduous tree 40 to 50 ft high; young shoots glabrous, red. Leaves not lobed, 3 to 6 in. long, half as wide, ovate with a heart-shaped base, the apex contracted, slender, tail-like, sharply toothed, glabrous; stalk slender, 1 to 2 in. long. Flowers 1⁄6 in. wide, borne on slender racemes about as long as the leaves, stalks thread-like, 1⁄3 in. long. Fruits with wings about 1⁄2 in. long, curved, spreading at angles of 90° to 120°.
Native of the E. Himalaya at altitudes of 9,000 to 10,000 ft. It is not hardy but has been grown successfully in Cornwall. The red young shoots are attractive and the fruits hang very elegantly.
A. sikkimense subsp. hookeri (Miq.) Wesm.; A. sikkimense subsp. davidii (Franch.) Wesm., sens. E. Murray, in part.
The above synonyms imply that A. hookeri is not specifically distinct from A. sikkimense, for which see below. The second synonym further implies that in Edward Murray’s view A. hookeri and A. davidii constitute one and the same subspecies.
A. hookeri has been introduced, but is not reliably hardy. A specimen at Knights-hayes in Devon, raised from seeds received from Messrs Ghose of Darjeeling in about 1965, was sometimes damaged in winter and was killed by hard frost after a rainy spell in 1979.
† A. sikkimense Miq. – This species was described simultaneously with A. hookeri and resembles it in many respects. Ecologically, it differs in being usually an epiphytic species, growing on the branches of other trees – even of Rhododendron arboreum – and attaining there a height of up to 35 ft. Its leaves are larger than in A. hookeri, more closely toothed, of leathery texture, more shortly stalked, and its racemes are spike-like, owing to the shortness of the flower-stalks.