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Xylosma congestum

Flacourtiaceae
Deciduous, Evergreen, Shrubs, Trees

Basic landscape foliage plant from China. Loose, spreading growth to 8–10 ft. tall and as wide or wider. Shiny yellowish green leaves are ovate with pointed tips, 1/2–3 in. long; new growth is bronzy. Flowers are insignificant and rarely seen. Some plants are spiny. Left alone, Xylosma develops an angular main stem that takes its time zigzagging upward. Meanwhile, long, graceful side branches develop; these are arching or drooping, sometimes lying on the ground.

Can be trained as single or multi­trunked small tree, espaliered on a wall or fence, or used as a clipped or unclipped hedge. ‘Compacta’ grows slowly to half the size of the species.

Hardy to 10°F (–12°C) but may lose many (or all) its leaves in hard frosts. Normally sheds many old leaves when new spring growth begins; frost at that time will kill new growth. This is a useful and versatile plant, though its unattractive appearance in nursery cans (especially in winter, when stems may be nearly bare) and slow start in ground may discourage gardeners. Tolerates heat and most soils. Scale and spider mites are occasional pests. Chlorosis may be a problem.

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