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An evergreen, often suckering shrub usually 2 to 3 ft high (occasionally somewhat taller in the wild), glabrous in all its parts or with the young stems, leaf undersides, and inflorescence-axes covered with short appressed hairs. Leaves dark green, occasionally simple but more commonly pinnate or slightly bipinnate, 2 to 31⁄2 in. long, the segments linear, blunt or mucronate at the apex, parallel-sided or slightly contracted at the base. Inflorescences racemose, terminal or from the upper leaf-axils, 4 to 8 in. long, produced July-August. Flowers pale yellow, tipped green in the bud, heliotrope-scented, borne singly or in pairs on stalks about 5⁄8 in. long. Bot. Mag., t. 4110.
Native of Tasmania, where it is widespread up to 3,000 ft and often forms large colonies in dry places, introduced in 1822. It was once cultivated in greenhouses for its elegant foliage, but is almost hardy and has lived for many years in the heath garden at Wakehurst Place, Sussex. Plants raised from seeds collected by the late Harold Comber during his Tasmanian expedition 1928–9 have survived many hard winters at Nymans and at Borde Hill in the same county. It needs a sunny sheltered position and a well-drained soil.
L. silaifolia (Sm.) R. Br. Embothrium silaifolium Sm. – This species, a native of the coastal parts of S.E. Australia, is allied to L. tinctoria and like it is of dwarf habit. But the leaves are larger, more elaborately divided, and the ultimate subdivisions widen towards the base. Some at least of the plants distributed under the name are really L. tinctoria.