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An evergreen shrub of low spreading growth 3 or 4 ft high; young shoots covered with pale brown hairs. Leaves almost stalkless, of hard leathery texture, elliptic-lanceolate, slenderly pointed, rounded at the base, margins recurved, 1 to 31⁄2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. wide, at first bristly, finally glabrous above and with conspicuously sunken, netted veins; thickly covered beneath with long brown hairs. Racemes produced from the axils of the terminal leaves of the previous season’s growths, about 1⁄2 in. long, with the six to ten flowers closely packed. Calyx deeply five-lobed, the lobes ovate-lanceolate, 1⁄6 in. long, hairy outside; corolla white, 1⁄5 in. wide, only slightly exceeding the calyx-lobes, pitcher-shaped; ovary downy. The floral bracts (which are narrowly obovate) and the flower-stalks are downy and bristly. Fruits purplish, with a white bloom. Bot. Mag., t. 9516.
This species was discovered by Kingdon Ward in S.E. Tibet in 1924, growing on ‘pine-clad slopes amongst bracken, etc.’, and also occurs in the Assam Himalaya and Upper Burma. He introduced it under KW 7134, for which he supplied the following field note: ‘Flowers snow-white, in masses. Berries blue with white bloom; undershrub growing on sunny boulders, in thickets.’ He sent seeds again under his numbers 8725 and 10409.
The most marked characters of G. wardii are its general hairiness, the deeply sunken veins of the leaf, and the very short racemes of flowers. It is not reliably hardy and does not really succeed except in the milder parts of the country.