Evergreen shrub or small tree. Bark dark brown. Young branchlets densely pubescent at first. Leaves pinnately veined, leathery; blade ovate, narrowly elliptic, or obovate, 3–5 × 2–3.5 cm, glabrous and shiny above, pubescent beneath, especially on the midrib; base broadly cuneate to rounded; margin entire; apex acute; petiole 0.5–1.3 cm, pubescent. Flowers in sessile, axillary, 5–6-flowered umbels. Flowers with 6 tepals, males with 9 stamens, females with reduced, fasciated staminodes. Fruit red at maturity, subglobose. (Cui & van der Werff 2008).
Habitat Thickets at low to medium elevations.
USDA Hardiness Zone 8-9
RHS Hardiness Rating H4
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
A usually shrubby species with evergreen, pinnately-veined leaves, Lindera akoensis is a smaller-leaved, Taiwanese counterpart to the mainland L. communis. While the leaves are on average shorter than those of L. communis (3–5 cm cf. 4–9 cm – Cui & van der Werff 2008), photographs and herbarium specimens suggest that they are usually proportionately broader (Chinese Academy of Sciences 2023; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2023); the apex tends to be acute rather than acuminate.
Clearly very rare in our area, Lindera akoensis is probably present in North American cultivation. A 1998 accession of wild-origin material was recorded from San Francisco Botanical Garden, CA (Quarryhill Botanical Garden 2023), although it is no longer in the catalogue (San Francisco Botanical Garden 2023). Woodlanders Nursery, SC, known for unusual woody plants, lists an evergreen Taiwanese Lindera said to fit the description of L. akoensis (Woodlanders 2023). At the very least, one should be aware of the possibility of this plant turning up in collections, either in the American South or on the Atlantic fringe of our European area.