An evergreen shrub or tree up to 70 ft high, with downy branchlets and simple, oblong leaves, heart-shaped at the base, 11⁄2 to 3 in. long, dull green; the margins wavy, very downy beneath (in juvenile specimens the leaves are longer, more pointed and strongly toothed). Flowers produced singly in the terminal leaf-axils, white, 2 in. across; petals four. Stamens very numerous; anthers terracotta coloured. Bot. Mag., t. 8209.
Native of the temperate rain-forests of Chile in the provinces of Valdivia, Llanquihue and Chiloe, where it is commonly associated with Nothofagus dombeyi and makes (in virgin forest) a broad-crowned tree to 70 ft high; introduced in 1851. More tender than E. glutinosa, this species has never attained a good footing in gardens and thrives best in places where the climate is moist and mild. In Sussex, given the protection of woodland, it grows well enough but suffered rather badly in the cold winters of 1961-3, which severely cut the old specimen at Nymans, Sussex, planted in 1906. There are, however, other examples in the collection, which flower well, some of them raised from Comber’s seeds. At Grayswood Hill, Surrey, a rather stunted tree, growing in full sun, suffered no damage in those winters. The tallest specimen recorded grows at Tregrehan in Cornwall, which measures 57 × 5 ft (1971). Others of around 40 to 55 ft grow at: Trelowarren, Trewithen, Trengwainton, Penjerrick, and Caerhays Castle, Cornwall; Logan, Wigtown; Castlewellan, Co. Down, N. Ireland; and at Mount Usher, Co. Wicklow, and Garinish Island, Co. Cork, Eire. In N.W. England there is a specimen at Muncaster Castle, Cumberland, measuring 50 × 31⁄4 ft, with a fine bole (1971).
E. cordifolia will grow well on chalky soils, though there must be few chalk gardens with the climate it demands.