Azara microphylla

Common Name: azara 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Salicaceae
Native Range: Chile, Argentina
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 12.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: February to March
Bloom Description: 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 easily 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 microphylla, commonly called box leaf azara, is a small broadleaf evergreen tree or large shrub that is native to understory woodland areas and wood margins in Chile and Argentina. In garden settings, it typically grows in a fountain-like shape to 12’ tall, but sometimes may mature over time in the wild to as much as 15-30’ tall. This shrub/tree is particularly noted for its late winter to early spring (February-March) bloom of tiny, apetalous flowers (each to 1/2” across) which 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 greenish-yellow to yellow stamens. Flowers are followed by small, one-seeded, spherical white berries (1/ 4” long). Arching branches in a herringbone-like pattern are clad with small, simple, obovate, shiny, very dark green leaves (to 3/4” long) which sometimes have a few tiny marginal teeth.

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

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 Latin words micro meaning tiny and phylla meaning leaf in obvious reference to leaf size.

Azara microphylla, commonly called box leaf azara, is a small broadleaf evergreen tree or large shrub that is native to understory woodland areas and wood margins in Chile and Argentina. In garden settings, it typically grows in a fountain-like shape to 12’ tall, but sometimes may mature over time in the wild to as much as 15-30’ tall. This shrub/tree is particularly noted for its late winter to early spring (February-March) bloom of tiny, apetalous flowers (each to 1/2” across) which 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 greenish-yellow to yellow stamens. Flowers are followed by small, one-seeded, spherical white berries (1/ 4” long). Arching branches in a herringbone-like pattern are clad with small, simple, obovate, shiny, very dark green leaves (to 3/4” long) which sometimes have a few tiny marginal teeth.

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

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

Specific epithet comes from Latin words micro meaning tiny and phylla meaning leaf in obvious reference to leaf size.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Grows well against south-facing walls which provide a sheltered environment. Interesting speciemen. Informal hedge. Screen.