A small, deciduous tree of graceful form up to 25 ft high. Leaves 2 to 4 in. long, opposite or nearly so, ovate with a heart-shaped or rounded base, long-pointed, the margin cut up into deep, narrow, irregular teeth; the blade is thin and the stalk about half as long. All the younger parts of the plant are downy. Flowers in downy panicles from the leaf-axils; they are numerous but very small (1⁄6 in. across), rose-coloured; male and female flowers are on separate trees. Fruit a dark red or almost black berry, about the size of a pea.
Native of New Zealand, and only suitable for the milder and moister parts of the country, where it grows well. There are good specimens at Inverewe in Wester Ross, and at Castlewellan, Co. Down.
A. fruticosa Hook. f. – Another New Zealand species, differing from the preceding in its leaves, which are leathery and not more than 1 in. long; and in its inflorescence, the flowers being borne singly or in few-flowered cymes. It is also a smaller plant, to 14 ft or so high.
Both species, like the Chilean one, are colonisers of felled forest and often hybridise where they meet. A. colensoi Hook. f. is thought to be the result of such a cross.