A densely branched evergreen shrub or small tree, usually of rather fastigiate habit, growing to about 25 ft in height. Branchlets covered with stellate down, especially when young. Leaves glossy, light green, variable in shape, but usually lanceolate, tapered at the apex to a sharp point, or acuminate, usually cuneate at the base, 21⁄2 to 3 in. long, deeply and jaggedly toothed. Juvenile plants form tangled shrublets with small usually roundish leaves. Flowers white, 3⁄4 in. wide, borne in August two to five together in cymose clusters (sometimes singly). Calyx campanulate, with triangular teeth, downy. Styles pinkish, usually six to seven in number, very rarely five; stigmas capitate. Carpels the same in number as the styles, broadly winged.
Native of New Zealand, in openings of lowland and mountain forests. In North Island it ranges from 36° 30’ southward; in South Island it is found as far south as Canterbury. It has been confused with H. populnea but in that species the flowers are larger and more numerous in each cyme (usually five to ten) and the styles and carpels usually number five only (rarely six). The shape of the leaves is less diagnostic (see var. ovata below) but in H. sexstylosa in its typical state they are relatively narrower than they are in H. populnea. The third evergreen species – H. angustifolia – has only five styles and carpels, small, oblong, rather spinily toothed leaves.
H. sexstylosa is the commonest evergreen hoheria in gardens. It is fast growing, and handsome at all times with its neat, glossy leaves, but especially in July and August when covered with its innumerable small white flowers. It is fairly hardy in the southern counties from Sussex westwards, and in the western counties. Elsewhere it needs the protection of a wall. It is defoliated in cold winters, but quickly recovers.
var. OVATA(Simpson and Thomson) Allan H. ovata Simpson and Thomson – Leaves resembling those of H. populnea, being ovate to broadly so, but smaller (2 to 3 in. long at the most). Styles and carpels five to eight in number. Native of the South Island of New Zealand (Nelson and northern Westland).
H. ‘Glory of Amlwch’. – Leaves about 31⁄2 in. long, ovate, pale green, serrated, slender-pointed. Flowers about 11⁄2 in. wide, in clusters of three to eight. A free-flowering small tree keeping its leaves in all but the severest winters. Award of Merit July 12, 1960, when shown by the late Sir Frederick Stern from Highdown, Sussex, where it grows on chalk (Journ. R.H.S., Vol. 85, p. 528). It was raised by Dr Jones of Amlwch, Anglesey, and is thought to be a hybrid between H. glabrata and H. sexstylosa (Arnold-Forster, Shrubs for the Milder Counties (1948), p. 139). It was put into commerce by the Slieve Donard Nursery Company. Similar hybrids have arisen in other gardens.