Shrub or tree to ≥ 10 m. Bark light brown, peeling in narrow longitudinal strips. Branchlets angular and with dense ferruginous pubescence. Leaves deciduous, simple, 4–13 × 2–4.5 cm, papery or membranous, oblongelliptic or lanceolate, upper surface green and glabrous, lower surface glaucous with dense white pubescence, five to seven secondary veins on each side of the midvein, margins entire, apex acute, acuminate or obtuse; petiole 0.2–0.4 cm long, sparsely pubescent; stipules ovate-triangular, 0.15 cm long, fulvous-pubescent. Inflorescences axillary fascicles bearing five to six monoecious flowers. Fruit a rounded capsule, sparsely pubescent, 0.4 × 0.5–1 cm, reddish. Seeds reddish brown. Flowering March to July, fruiting July to December (China). Chang et al. 2005. Distribution CAMBODIA; CHINA: Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan, Sichuan, Yunnan; INDIA: Sikkim; JAPAN; NEPAL; PHILIPPINES; TAIWAN; THAILAND. Habitat Montane forest and riverine scrub between 500 and 2600 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 7. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration NT379.
In suitable conditions Glochidion triandrum is a potentially handsome tree, and it deserves to be more widely grown. The only specimens seen in the research for the present work are both at the JC Raulston Arboretum: 10 m and 7 m tall, respectively, and multistemmed, forming a spreading canopy from upright trunks. The species has a strong tendency to sucker from the roots, especially when young, and planting as a lawn specimen may be advisable, so that unwanted suckers can be mown off. The flowering shoots, bearing leaves as well as flowers, are apparently annual, dying back each year but persisting on the branches to give them a rather spiky appearance. The annual crop of such shoots conceals this spikiness during summer at least, with new growth flushing reddish before turning green. The leaves are held pointing more or less upwards and the clusters of flowers between the leaves are surprisingly conspicuous, opening in succession along the shoot. The reddish tint on the new growth persists well into early summer and is an appealing feature of the tree, but it does not colour in autumn (T. Lasseigne, pers. comm. 2007). In the absence of other observations it is difficult to make recommendations for cultivation, but this is probably a tree that appreciates hot summers. The two specimens in Raleigh are very fast-growing, having been planted only in 1997.