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Shrub or tree to 10 m; usually multistemmed. Bark brown with closely spaced longitudinal furrows. Branchlets greyish brown, densely pubescent. Leaves deciduous, simple, 3–8 × 1–2.5(–3) cm, papery or leathery, oblong to obovate, rarely lanceolate, upper surface greyish green and glabrous, lower surface green, densely pubescent and with raised veins, four to nine secondary veins on each side of the midvein, margins entire, apex obtuse, acute or rounded; petiole 0.1–0.4 cm long, covered in ferruginous pubescence; stipules triangular, about 0.1 cm long. Inflorescences are axillary fascicles bearing 2–5(–10) monoecious, greenish yellow flowers. Fruit a rounded capsule, yellowish green to red, densely pubescent, 0.8–1.5 cm diameter. Seeds red to orange. Flowering April to August, fruiting July to November (China). Fearn & Urbatsch 2001, Chang et al. 2005. Distribution CHINA: Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Henan, Hong Kong, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Xizang, Yunnan, Zhejiang; TAIWAN. Naturalised in Alabama and Florida, USA. Habitat A variety of habitats including montane slopes, forest marginal scrub and streambanks between 300 and 2200 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8–9. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration NT380. Cross-reference K116.
Krüssmann (1985a) notes tersely that Glochidion puberum is ‘only for the collector’, and the genus has otherwise been resolutely ignored by the horticultural literature. Krüssmann also says that it is cultivated at Arboretum National des Barres. It was probably first introduced by Wilson (Sargent 1916) but in recent years has been grown from Shanghai Botanic Garden seed, and plants from this source are established at Tregrehan. In most temperate gardens it will probably grow as a shrub. It has some value for its ‘pinnate leaves’, that are in reality the shoots, and the reddish fruits along the branches. A large shrubby specimen (7 × 7 m) labelled G. puberum has grown at the Hillier Gardens for many years, but its identity is in doubt as it has glabrous leaf undersides (A. Coombes, pers. comm. 2008).