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A low evergreen shrub 1 to 11⁄2 ft high, of close compact habit; young shoots very downy. Leaves of firm, leathery texture, obovate, oblanceolate, or narrowly oval, pointed, wedge-shaped at the base, shallowly toothed, 1⁄2 to 11⁄8 in. long, 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. wide, dark glossy green and glabrous above, paler and dotted with dark glands beneath; stalk 1⁄16 in. long. Flowers produced from June onwards in a cluster of axillary racemes, each 1 to 11⁄2 in. long, near the end of the twigs; main flower-stalk minutely downy. Corolla white, nodding, urn-shaped, 1⁄4 in. long, with five small recurved lobes. Stamens ten, enclosed within the corolla, their stalks downy. Calyx whitish, five-lobed, the lobes triangular, 1⁄12 in. long, ciliate; ovary silky. Fruits snow-white, globose, and 3⁄8 in. wide. Seeds numerous, shining, brown. Bot. Mag., t. 8829.
Native of W. Szechwan, China; introduced in 1909 by Wilson, who found it ‘quite common on humus-clad rocks in moist woods’. It differs from G. miqueliana (q.v.) and pyroloides in the silky ovary and downy fruit; the latter, however, is hidden by the white fleshy calyx. The white ‘berries’ are ripe from August onwards and give the plant an interesting appearance. It is very hardy and makes a pretty, dwarf ground cover.
G. merrilliana Hort