This small, slender tree can be seen bearing a mass of tiny flowers at the back of the Dry Garden.
A Chilean native, Azara microphylla is an elegant specimen, having small, glossy, delicate leaves, and downy branchlets. The petal-less flowers nestle in the leaf axils on the underside of the branchlets beneath the foliage. They have green sepals and conspicuous yellow stamens, though it is the chocolatey scent which alerts the passer by to their presence, rather than the flower itself. It is regarded as hardy, though benefits from a hot, sunny position. Having formerly been assigned to the family Flacourtiaceae, Azara now sits within the Salicaceae, or willow family. The genus takes its name from the Spanish scientist J Azara, 1731-1804, and the specific name refers to the small leaves: micro meaning small, and phylla being leaf. A. microphylla was introduced to our gardens in 1861 by Richard Pearce, who collected it during one of his expeditions to South America for the Veitch nursery.