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Litsea japonica

Very rare in cultivation, this slow-growing shrub is among the few that maintains a dense form in medium shade without pruning. Blue-green above with fuzzy golden undersides, its attractive foliage is reminiscent of the cool-climate big-leaf rhododendrons that we can’t otherwise grow here, and therefore lends a unique presence in the garden you’d otherwise expect in the Pacific Northwest. With such amazing foliage, you won’t care that the flowers are tiny and ornamentally insignificant. — Adam Black