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Vaccinium nummularia C.B.Cl.

Modern name

Vaccinium nummularia Hook. f. & Thomson ex C.B. Clarke

A low evergreen shrub often found growing wild in the forks of trees and having pendulous branches there. Young shoots rather slender, but made to look thicker by their dense covering of pale brown bristles, which give them an almost mossy appearance. Leaves scarcely stalked, of firm, even hard texture, bright green, wrinkled but not downy above, conspicuously veined and glabrous beneath; broadly oval to ovate, rounded or bluntish at the apex, rounded at the base, 12 to 1 in. long, 38 to 58 in. wide, margins recurved, sparingly set with bristles. The leaves are set on the twigs six or eight to the inch. Flowers opening in May and June, crowded on several racemes, each 12 to 34 in. long, clustered at the end of the shoots. Corolla rose-red to pink or pinkish white, 15 in. long, 110 in. wide, tapering from the base to the narrow mouth; stamens hairy; calyx shallowly lobed, ciliate. Fruits globose, 15 in. wide, each on a stalk 14 to 12 in. long, black, said to be edible. Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 470.

Native of the eastern Himalaya and some of the lower ranges of northeastern India. The younger Hooker collected it in Sikkim in 1850 and may have sent home seeds, but it first came to notice in gardens around 1930. It occurs in the Himalaya at altitudes of up to 12,000 ft and has been successfully grown in several gardens of the south and west and flowers well when once established, but it is not reliably hardy and the bronze-coloured growths may be cut by late frost.

V. nummularia is replaced in northern Burma and western China by related species, of which V. delavayi is the nearest allied.



Other species in the genus