Trees to 30 m tall. Branchlets covered with dense brown lepidote scales, becoming glabrous. Leaf 10–18 × 5–8 cm, oblong-elliptic to elliptic-lanceolate, underside of leaf dense grey to yellowish stellate tomentum, upper surface of leaf sparse stellate pubescent or glabrous, 11–15 secondary veins on each side of midrib, margin serrulate, apex acute to acuminate, base cuneate to broadly cuneate; petiole 1–2cm, covered with dense brown lepidote scales. Inflorescence terminal or axillary panicles, compact, 10 to 30-flowered; 3–5 cm long. Pedicel 0.1–0.2 cm. Flowers c. 1.5 cm long; calyx densely yellow stellate pubescent; corolla lobes oblong to elliptic, 1–1.3 cm. Capsule oblong, 0.7–1.2 cm, sparely white pubescent becoming glabrous. (Hwang & Grimes 1996).
Distribution China S Guangxi, SE Yunnan Vietnam
Habitat Lowland secondary forest and forest margins.
USDA Hardiness Zone 8a
RHS Hardiness Rating H3
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
This species appears to have been a recent introduction to cultivation with only two ex-situ sites listed as cultivating Alniphyllum eberhardtii on the BGCI Plant Search. The joint Hanoi, UBC Botanical Garden, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Longwood and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew expediton (HNE expedition) to north Vietnam collected this species in 2014. Material from this expedition was planted out at Kew and at Logan Botanic Garden in southwest Scotland but has not proved hardy enough to survive.
Robbie Blackhall-Miles (pers. comm. 2018), who has experience growing Alniphyllum, believes that the environmental and habitat conditions of this forest dwelling species are such that the air humidity is maintained over winter. It is likely that this species can tolerate low temperatures but fails when the ground is frozen and the cold, drying winds lower the air humidity causing winter desiccation, a form of drought stress. Future attempts to cultivate of this species should include shelter from cold winter temperatures and winds.
The timber from this species is used for construction and tool making in its native range, however as this species acts as a pioneer and regenerates well on abandoned fields it is not believed to be under threat in the wild. The common name, used here, is Yunnan Alder-leaf and is a translation of the common name used in the flora of China (Hwang & Grimes 1996).