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An evergreen shrub of sparse, rather ungainly habit, 1 to 2 ft high, with the leaves about eight to the inch on the young shoots. Leaves obovate, often narrowly so, pointed or rounded at the apex, tapered at the base, conspicuously toothed at the upper half, 1⁄3 to 1 in. long, 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. wide, of thick fleshy texture, thickened at the margins, glabrous bright green; stalk short and thick. Flowers pure white, 3⁄4 in. wide, produced from the terminal leaf-axils in clusters of three to eight. Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 177.
A native of the Southern Alps of New Zealand up to 5,000 ft. Although described in 1864, it is of quite recent introduction to Britain (the plate in the Botanical Magazine was painted in June 1949 and the sprays figured came from a plant cultivated in the grounds of the Department of Botany, University of Aberdeen). It is remarkably distinct in the leathery, toothed leaves, but more especially in the flowers being 3⁄4 in. wide and the largest borne by any shrubby New Zealand species. As it occurs up to 5,000 ft altitude on the South Island it should be one of the hardiest. Cheeseman observes that in growth it is by no means so attractive as many other species, but that when in flower few have a more charming appearance: ‘The sight of a rocky slope covered with multitudes of the pure white flowers is a spectacle not easily paralleled.’