20. Gaultheria fragrantissima Wallich, Asiat. Res. 13: 397. 1820.
芳香白珠 fang xiang bai zhu
Gaultheria forrestii Diels.
Shrubs, rarely small trees, (0.3–)1–3(–4) m tall, glabrous except on racemes. Twigs terete, sometimes obtusely angled. Leaves scattered; petiole 3–5(–10) mm; leaf blade elliptic, oblong-elliptic, ovate, obovate, or narrowly obovate-lanceolate, 5–17 × 2–6.5 cm, leathery, abaxially scattered punctate, secondary veins 4–7 pairs, secondary and fine veins distinctly raised abaxially, slightly impressed adaxially, base cuneate to broadly cuneate, sometimes obtuse-rounded, margin obtusely serrulate, apex acute, sometimes acuminate. Inflorescences axillary, racemose, 3–9 cm, strict, many flowered, densely pubescent; bracts ovate, 1–3 mm, abaxially glabrous or puberulous, margin ciliolate. Pedicel 1–7 mm, pubescent; bracteoles apical, rarely distant, broadly ovate. Calyx glabrous; lobes triangular, ca. 2 mm, margin ciliolate. Corolla white, tubular-urceolate, 4–5 mm, abaxially glabrous; lobes very short. Filaments dilated, ca. 1.25 mm, puberulous; anthers ca. 1.25 mm, thecae 2-awned. Ovary pubescent. Calyx at fruiting blue-purple, fleshy; capsule globose, 4–6 mm in diam., pubescent. Fl. Jan–May, fr. Jun–Aug. 2n = 44, 48.
Evergreen, Pinus, and mixed forests, forest margins, thickets on dry slopes, sunny slopes; 1000–3200 m. SE Xizang, Yunnan [Bhutan, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, N Vietnam].
Gaultheria fragrantissima varies much in leaf size and shape, generally because of habitat differences. In forest understories or at forest margins it is a large shrub or small tree with large leaves, whereas in thickets or on sunny slopes it is often a small shrub with narrow leaves. It is characterized by glabrous twigs, abaxially punctate leaf blades, and white waxy inflorescences with densely pubescent rachis and pedicels.