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An evergreen shrub 2 to 4 ft high; young shoots hairy at first, becoming brown and glabrous. Leaves ovate to ovate-lanceolate, up to 2 in. long by 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. wide, pointed, tapering to a very short red stalk, sparsely toothed, ciliate when young, dark green. Flowers crowded in axillary racemes 11⁄4 in. long, nodding; corolla waxy white, ovoid-globose, 1⁄4 in. long, spreading at the apex into five quite short, broad, reflexed lobes, opening from April to June; calyx with five short, spreading lobes; stamens ten, downy at the base. Fruits brownish red, with a fleshy calyx. Bot. Mag., t. 4920.
Native of the coastal region of Chile from Concepcion to the region of Puerto Aisen; introduced by Standish and Noble about the middle of the last century, but always rare. It is a rather anomalous species, agreeing best with Pernettya, but differing from all the other species in its racemose inflorescence, and with unusually large leaves for a pernettya. Its rarity in cultivation is due partly perhaps to its slight tenderness, and partly, perhaps, to the dullness of its fruits. As a flowering shrub it is the most decorative of the pernettyas, though not superior in this respect to the hardier and commoner × Gaulnettya ‘Wisley Pearl’.
The above spelling of the specific epithet is considered to be correct, not furens. Hooker named the species Arbutus furiens in allusion to the fact that the berries, taken in quantity, cause delirium (more correct would have been ‘furians’). The emendation ‘furens’, taken by Klotzsch from de Candolle’s Prodromus, means mad or delirious, which is not what Hooker intended.