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An evergreen shrub 10 to 15 ft high of dense, very twiggy habit; young shoots downy. Leaves opposite, obcordate (i.e., inversely heart-shaped), conspicuously notched at the apex, tapered to the short downy stalk; otherwise glabrous; usually 1⁄5 to 1⁄2 in. long, 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 in. wide; dark green above, pale and dotted with oil-glands beneath. Flowers 1⁄4 in. wide, dull white, solitary, produced from the axils of the leaves on a slender downy stalk 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. long. Calyx four-lobed, the lobes ovate, the tube downy; petals four, round, ciliate; stamens very numerous and the chief attraction of the flower. Fruit a dark red or violet subglobose berry, 1⁄4 in. wide.
Native of New Zealand; introduced long ago. This pleasing shrub just misses being hardy at Kew, but survives the winters safely thirty or forty miles south of London. In the gardens of the south-west it is quite at home. It rarely blossoms with freedom, and if it did the flowers would not add much to the attractiveness of the plant. This is mainly to be found in its neat habit, slender branching, and in the plenitude of its small, unusually shaped leaves.