Azara serrata

Common Name: saw toothed azara 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Salicaceae
Native Range: Chile
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 8.00 to 12.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Deep yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10 where it is best grown in fertile, humusy, well-drained soils with regular and consistent moisture in full sun to part shade. Best in light shade. Appreciates a sheltered location which provides protection from cold winds. Propagate by cuttings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Azara serrata, commonly called saw-tooth azara, is a large broadleaf evergreen shrub that is native to understory woodland areas in Chile. In garden settings, it typically grows in a fountain-like shape to 12’ tall. This shrub is noted for its glossy, ovate-serrate leaves, summer bloom (June-July) of fragrant deep yellow flowers and one-seeded white berries which mature in late summer. The tiny, apetalous flowers (each to 1/2” across) of this species bloom later than the late winter-early spring flowers of most other species in the genus. Flowers perfume the air with a strong intoxicating aroma varyingly described as having overtones of vanilla or chocolate. Flowers bloom in tiny clusters from the leaf axils, with the flower color coming entirely from showy golden yellow stamens. Flowers are usually followed by small, one-seeded, spherical, white berries (1/ 4” long). Arching branches are clad with small, simple, ovate, shiny, very dark green leaves (to 3/4” long). Leaves have serrate margins as suggested by both the specific epithet and common name.

In the U. S., this plant is primarily grown in California and along the coast in the Pacific Northwest.

Azara serrata was given the RHS Award of Garden Merit in 2002.

Genus name probably honors Spanish naturalist Felix de Azara (1742-1821) who spent time in South America in the late 1700s doing research rather than Spanish diplomat and patron of science Jose Nicholas Azara (1731-1804).

Specific epithet comes from the Latin word serrula meaning a small saw in reference to the saw-like teeth of the leaf margin.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Grows well against south-facing walls which provide a sheltered environment. Arbor or trellis. Interesting specimen shrub. Informal hedge. Screen.