Meliosma dilleniifolia (Wight & Arn.) Walp.

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Credits

Owen Johnson (2022)

Recommended citation
Johnson, O. (2022), 'Meliosma dilleniifolia' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/meliosma/meliosma-dilleniifolia/). Accessed 2022-07-03.

Genus

Common Names

  • Gogun Tree

Synonyms

  • Millingtonia dilleniifolia Wight & Arn.

Glossary

simple
(of a leaf) Unlobed or undivided.
subspecies
(subsp.) Taxonomic rank for a group of organisms showing the principal characters of a species but with significant definable morphological differentiation. A subspecies occurs in populations that can occupy a distinct geographical range or habitat.
taxon
(pl. taxa) Group of organisms sharing the same taxonomic rank (family genus species infraspecific variety).

Credits

Owen Johnson (2022)

Recommended citation
Johnson, O. (2022), 'Meliosma dilleniifolia' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/meliosma/meliosma-dilleniifolia/). Accessed 2022-07-03.

Deciduous tree to 8 m tall. Bark pale, corky. Twigs and buds with a dense rusty pubescence. Leaf simple, 10–30 × 5–8(–14) cm, obovate to elliptic with a cuneate base and pointed tip; pubescent on both sides; veins conspicuously parallel in 16–20 pairs, rather straight and running to the margin, which is doubly serrated (2 teeth per vein) to near the leaf-base; petiole 15–35 mm. Flower-heads terminal, erect, opening in summer,14–30 cm tall, branched 3 or 4 times; stem angular and pubescent. Sepals 5. Petals 5, white, to c. 2 mm wide, ciliate. Fruit 3–6 mm wide, finely reticulate. (Guo & Brach 2007Bean 1981).

Distribution  BhutanMyanmar In mountains in the north of the country China SE Xiyang, Yunnan India In the Himalaya Nepal

Habitat Mountain forests, 2000–3300 m asl.

USDA Hardiness Zone 7

RHS Hardiness Rating H5

Conservation status Not evaluated (NE)

This is the Himalayan representative of a group of deciduous Meliosma species with numerous, neatly parallel leaf-veins, which in this case suggest the foliage of the Elephant Apple trees (Dillenia); the leaves are the largest of any of the hardy, simple-leaved Meliosma, and the double serration is also distinctive. This taxon is likely to be less hardy than its east Asian allies and seems rare in cultivation. (Three of these taxa were reduced by van Beusekom in the 1970s to subspecies of M. dillenniifolia, meaning that references to M. dilleniifolia now have to be considered liable to relate to any of these other plants.) According to Desmond Clarke, M. dilleniifolia itself reached the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in the 1930s (Clarke 1988), but this plant has long gone.

In 2014 a multistemmed, 7 m plant grew in the Cornish garden of the late plant-hunter Edward Needham (Tree Register 2022); Meliosma dilleniifolia was added to the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in the same year (Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 2022). In 2020 it was commercially available from Pan-Global Plants and from Crûg Farm (as WJC 13819) (Royal Horticultural Society 2020). Rather surprisingly, it was also advertised in Germany in 2022 from Herrenkamper Gärten (Herrenkamper Gärten 2022). The species is grown at the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle, where its fallen autumn leaves were captured in 2014 by the photographer Mark Windom (Windom 2014).

A tree at Tregrehan, Cornwall, which resembles Meliosma dilleniifolia in foliage was received from the Qingpu Paradise Horticultural Company in 1997 as M. rigida, an evergreen species with very different foliage (QPH 97–167). It has made a shapely small tree with a dark bark that has begun to flake to reveal yellow new bark, less evenly than in M. parviflora; Desmond Clarke (Clarke 1988) describes the typical bark of M. dilleniifolia as pale and corky.