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Heimia myrtifolia Cham. & Schlecht.

Modern name

Heimia myrtifolia Cham. & Schltdl.


H. salicifolia Hort., in part, not (H.B.K.) Link

A deciduous shrub, said to grow to a height of 5 or 6 ft, but usually shorter than that in this country, where, in the open ground, its stems are frequently cut back to the ground in winter, springing up 2 to 4 ft high the following summer. Stems erect, leafy, much-branched, quite glabrous. Leaves linear and willow­like, opposite on the lower portion of the stem, alternate towards the top, 1 to 2 in. long, 18 to 14 in. wide, quite glabrous. Flowers yellow, 13 to 12 in. across, very shortly stalked, produced singly in the leaf-axils of the current year’s growth from July to September; petals five to seven; stamens ten to eighteen.

Native of Brazil and Uruguay; introduced in 1821 as “H. salicifolia” and again under its correct name in 1826. Although it will live in the open ground at Kew, and flowers there, its stems do not become more than half woody, and do not survive the winter. But plants on the Temperate House terrace at Kew have become true shrubs.

H. salicifolia (H.B.K.) Link H. salicifolia var. grandiflora Lindl.; H.grandiflora (Lindl.) Hook.; Nesaea salicifolia H.B.K. – This species can easily be distinguished from H. myrtifolia by its larger flowers, the calyx (receptacle and sepals) being 316 to almost 14 in. long (about 18 in. long in H. myrtifolia) and the petals 38 to 58 in. long (only half as long or less in H. myrtifolia). Other more technical differences have also been adduced. There is no constant difference between the two in their foliage, both being variable in the size and shape of their leaves.

H. salicifolia has a wide range, from Central America to Argentina; and was introduced in 1839. It flowers well outside the greenhouses at the University Botanic Garden, Cambridge.

Both species can be propagated by cuttings in late summer.



Other species in the genus

[No species article available]