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Shrub or tree to 5 m. Branchlets blue-green with dense golden silky hairs. Leaves evergreen, alternate, 3.5–7 × 2–4 cm, ovate or elliptic, leathery, immature leaves densely covered in golden silky hairs, mature leaves upper surface lustrous green and glabrous, lower surface glaucous with soft brown hairs, triplinerved, margins entire, apex caudate to acuminate; petiole 0.6–1 cm long and pubescent. Inflorescence clusters axillary, with 6–13 flowers and one bract, densely covered with tomentum. Flowers yellowish green, tepals six with soft, white hair outside and glabrous inside; staminate flowers with nine fertile stamens; pistillate flowers with nine staminodes and a capitate stigma. Fruit ellipsoidal, reddish brown to black, 0.8–1 × 0.4–0.7 cm. Flowering October to April, fruiting November to December (Taiwan). Liao 1988, 1996b. Distribution CHINA: Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Zhejiang; JAPAN (naturalised); PHILIPPINES; TAIWAN; VIETNAM. Habitat Forest, between 200 and 1000 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 7. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration Liao 1996b; NT452.
Lindera aggregata is a small evergreen tree whose foliage is its principal feature. The aspen-like leaves are glossy green above and glaucous below, covered with golden silky hairs when young. To get full benefit of their beauty the plant should be placed where it receives sun for at least part of the day – preferably in the evening, so that light can be reflected off the undersides of the leaves; training it up into a low standard also helps reveal the beauty of the leaf undersides. The fragrant flowers are pleasing as well, particularly in male plants (S. Hogan, pers. comm. 2007). They are held in clusters about 1 cm across, and on female plants are succeeded by attractive black fruit. The species is rare in cultivation, but it is offered commercially in the western United States; some plants were observed at Cistus Nursery in 2004.