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A bushy evergreen shrub 3 ft or more high, spreading by suckers. Leaves mostly elliptic or elliptic-oblong and 1 to 11⁄2 in. long (somewhat longer on sterile shoots), pointed at the apex, wedge-shaped or rounded at the base, of firm, leathery texture, almost glabrous, medium green above, paler beneath, strongly net-veined on both surfaces. Flowers pearl-white, borne in downy, glandular clusters of terminal and axillary racemes near the end of the shoots, each 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 in. long, carrying six to fifteen flowers and opening in May and June. Fruits dark purplish red, fleshy, oblate-globose, about 1⁄4 in. across, clasped at the base by the enlarged fleshy calyx.
The hybrid described above was noticed in 1929 in the garden of the Royal Horticultural Society at Wisley, where it grew on a mound in the Wild Garden in the company of other ericaceous plants, including Gaultheria shallon and Pernettya mucronata. There can be little doubt that it is a hybrid between these two species, showing the influence of the former in its net-veined foliage and in the enlarged fleshy calyx seen at the base of the fruits; and of the pernettya parent in its inflorescence and fleshy fruits. For an illustrated note on this hybrid by B. O. Mulligan see Journ. R.H.S., Vol. 64 (1939), pp. 125-127.
This shrub, now common in cultivation, makes a neat evergreen and is attractive in flower and fruit. It was given an Award of Merit at Vincent Square on 20 June 1939. It is propagated by half-ripe cuttings or by division.
The name ‘Wisley Pearl’, published by Mr Mulligan in the note referred to above, should be regarded as a clonal name for the descendants by vegetative propagation of the original plant.
× G. ‘Pink Pixie’. – Briefly mentioned in later impressions of Volume II, this is a back-cross between ‘Wisley Pearl’ and Gaultheria shallon, and received an Award of Merit in 1976. The flowers are flushed with pink, as is usual in G. shallon, and are not the striking, very pure white of ‘Wisley Pearl’.