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A dwarf evergreen shrub 3 to 6 in. high, of close compact growth, forming a dense mat and spreading by underground stems. Branchlets more or less erect, very slender, minutely downy when young, almost entirely hidden by the foliage. Leaves stalkless, alternate, overlapping each other, obovate-oblong, abruptly tapered at the apex to a slender, bristle-like tip, 1⁄8 to 3⁄16 in. long, 1⁄16 to 1⁄12 in. wide, dull green, the longitudinal veins distinct beneath, margins fringed with tiny hairs. Flowers sweetly scented, solitary in the leaf-axils. Corolla a slender tube 3⁄8 in. long, pinkish white, divided at the mouth into five short triangular lobes which are downy on the underside; inside of tube hairy. The four brown anthers are fixed near the top of the corolla tube and have very short stalks. Style slender, downy. Fruit an oblong drupe, 1⁄3 in. long, yellowish orange, sweet and edible.
Native of New Zealand up to 4,500 ft altitude, where it was found by C. Fraser in 1820; also of Tasmania and Australia. I do not know when this interesting little shrub was originally introduced, but I first saw it in Messrs Cunningham and Fraser’s nursery at Comely Bank, Edinburgh, in 1911, and obtained it for Kew, where it has proved hardy. It does not flower freely enough to render it very noticeable, but it makes a neat tuft a few inches high very suitable for the rock garden, and its flowers, borne in May and June, have a hay-like fragrance.
This species was described from New Zealand. The form occurring in south-east Australia and Tasmania is by some authorities accepted as a distinct species – L. stuartii F. v. Muell.