A shrub or small tree 6 to 20 ft high; shoots opposite, spreading often at nearly right angles to the stem, very slender, finely downy at first. Leaves opposite or in opposite clusters, linear, 1⁄4 to 3⁄5 in. long, 1⁄12 to 1⁄8 in. wide, scarcely stalked, curved, mostly blunt. Flowers of no beauty, axillary, solitary or two to four together; females with a four-toothed calyx, the corolla tubular, 1⁄8 in. long, four-lobed; stamens absent. Male flowers with no calyx, corolla 1⁄6 in. long, bell-shaped, four- or five-lobed; stamens four or five. Fruit a glabrous drupe 1⁄4 in. long, pale blue to blue-black. Bot. Mag., t. 9286.
Native of New Zealand, with a wide distribution from the North Island south to Stewart Island. Its chief attraction is in its fruits. It succeeded well with the late Lord Headfort at Kells, Co. Meath, and plants of Stewart Island should be pretty hardy in our average climate. It most frequently grows wild in damp places.
C. cunninghamii Hook, f., which is in commerce, is now thought to be part of a hybrid swarm between C. propinqua and C. robusta. It is an erect shrub with narrow, leathery leaves up to 2 in. long and pale yellow fruits. It is likely to be very tender.
C. parviflora Hook, f., was given an Award of Merit when shown from Exbury in 1945 but is not established in cultivation. It is related to C. propinqua but the fruits are purplish or (as in the form shown) white. It was at first considered to be C. rigida, and is discussed by the late Francis Hanger under that name in Journ. R.H.S., Vol. 69, p. 291.