A monotypic genus rare in the wild, allied to Tripetaleia, Botryostege, Cladothamnus and Ledum. It resembles these in its free petals but is distinguished by the combination of: deciduous leaves; racemose inflorescence; corollas with four (rarely five) petals. It is named after the botanist Stephen Elliott (1771-1830), who discovered the one species described here.
From the Supplement (Vol. V)
Elliottia is now considered to comprise four species. Two of these had in fact been transferred to this genus over a century ago from Tripetaleia. This position is now accepted by Brim and Stevens in ‘Generic Limits in the Tribe Cladothamneae …’, Journ. Arn. Arb., Vol. 59, pp. 311-41 (1978). In this paper the monotypic Cladothamnus is also included in Elliottia.
The leading characters of Elliottia are the thin, usually deciduous leaves; hairs when present always unicellular; inflorescence essentially cymose but taking the form of a raceme or panicle (often solitary in E. pyroliflora), not protected by scales in the bud-stage; petals three to five, free, white or pinkish; fruit a many-seeded septicidal capsule.