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Shrubby tree to 6 m; sometimes suckering and usually forming a wide, rounded crown. Leaves alternate, but clustered at shoot tips, dull green to olive-green, 5–13(–21) × 2–4(–6) cm, elliptic to obovate-elliptic, base acute, apex obtuse or rounded; petiole 0.8–1.6 cm. Flowers axillary at shoot tips, pendulous below the leaves, small, 0.8–1.2 cm diameter, solitary or sometimes two together, borne on peduncles 0.7–2.4 cm; perianth segments 11–16, yellow-green; stamens six to seven; follicles 10–13. Follicetum 2–3.5 cm diameter. Flowering late spring (Florida). Elias 1980, Vincent 1997. Distribution USA: Florida, Georgia. Habitat Moist woods, swamps, between 0 and 70 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 7b. Conservation status Not evaluated, but with a limited range and specialised habitat. Illustration Elias 1980; NT408.
Illicium parviflorum is praised by Michael Dirr (1998) as the ‘most rugged landscape performer’ of all Illicium species, and is recommended by him as a solid foliage plant for gardens in the southeastern United States; the flowers are insignificant. Its performance in cooler, less humid areas is more uncertain, but it is clearly worth trying in a warm, moist situation. Dirr has introduced ‘Forest Green’, which has a more rounded, darker green leaf than normal. It seems to be very tolerant of exposure to full sunlight (Lasseigne 2001).