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An evergreen, unifoliolate, dioecious, prostrate shrub, the slender stems often partially buried in the soil and rooting from the joints; prickles few and small. The whole plant except the flower-stalks is glabrous. Leaves 1 to 3 in. long, 1⁄4 to 5⁄8 in. wide, linear to linear-lanceolate, more or less cordate, pointed, the margins densely and regularly set with small, sharp teeth; stalk 1⁄2 to 1 in. long, midrib sparsely spiny beneath. Flowers solitary or in twos or threes, axillary or terminal, white, about 1 in. wide, petals ovate, spreading.
Native of the South Island of New Zealand; in cultivation at Leonardslee, Sussex, in 1916. It is uncommon in gardens but used to be grown by Fred Stoker, who had a low patch several feet across in his garden in Essex, flowering in May and June. In a sunny position the dark green leaves are tinged with bronze, especially in winter, but they may be badly burned by prolonged frost.
With even more vividly tinted foliage is the hybrid R. × barkeri Ckn., discovered wild in Westland in 1898 and distributed by the New Zealand botanist Leonard Cockayne. The other parent is probably R. schmideloides, a New Zealand species not treated here. See further in Gard. Chron., Vol. 82 (1927), p. 405.; also in that excellent work L. J. Metcalf, The Cultivation of New Zealand Trees and Shrubs (1972), pp. 244-5, where R. parvus and the hybrid are both figured.