Thursday, 10 May 2012

Azara (plant)

Azara is a genus of ten species of flowering plants in the family Salicaceae, native to temperate to subtropical regions of South America. Azara was formerly classed in the family Flacourtiaceae.

They are evergreen shrubs and small trees growing to 1-8 m tall. The leaves are alternate, or in some species they appear paired, are simple 1-9 cm long and 0.5-5 cm broad. The opposite-leaved appearance of some species is unusual in that one stipule is enlarged giving the appearance of opposite ["paired"] leaves.

The flowers are small, yellow or greenish, strongly fragrant, with a 4-5-lobed calyx and no petals but conspicuous long, often brightly colored, stamens; flowering is in spring. The fruit is a red to black berry 3-10 mm diameter.

Several species are cultivated as ornamental plants in gardens.