Originating from Mexico, Chile, Argentina
- Superb flowering display of large bunches of white scented blooms.
- Beautiful leathery glossy evergreen leaves borne on fast-growing upright stems.
- Easy to grow, benefits from some woodland shelter in full sun or light shade.
An outstandingly beautiful floral display is the crowning glory of this lovely species from Chile. Large bunches of fresh jasmine-scented flowers form as tight pink and burgundy-tinted buds in late spring, opening to reveal pure white petals around a central ring of yellow stamens and four green carpels, which mature to form the seeds. As the flowers mature, they take on hues of yellow, and the seeds darken to deep burgundy red, eventually turning black.
Growing as an evergreen shrub or small tree, it usually forms several upright main stems that eventually mature into thick trunks with smooth, highly aromatic reddish-brown bark. Its large, soft, leathery leaves are borne on deep red new shoots, growing from branches that hang pendulously from thicker boughs. They are lustrous dark green above and silver underneath, forming a dense and abundant mass of foliage, looking jungly and exotic all year.
The tree derives its common name from the tea made from the bark, given to Captain Winter by Native Americans during an expedition with Sir Francis Drake. He was suffering from an upset stomach and was apparently cured. His crew were given the peppery fragranced leaves, rich in vitamin C, to combat scurvy.
Easy to grow in most soils except those that are thin or dry, in sun or part shade. Performing best in a good depth of humus-rich woodland soil with some shelter from cold easterly winds.
Height and spread after 3 – 4 years 1.8m x 1.5m
Semi mature height and spread after 8 – 10 years if not clipped or pruned 6m x 4m