A sizeable evergreen shrub boasting impressive deep green leaves that earns its common name from its striking similarity to some of the large-leaved rhododendrons. In the garden, plants have an oval framework with leaves that are grouped in whorls on the stems. They add a wonderful textural quality and tropical feel to the garden. Young stems and leaf stalks are cleverly brushed with burgundy-red and female plants produce sizeable crops of waxy-blue fruit when grown in close proximity to a male pollinator. Though marginally cold hardy in CT, several of our customers have had long-term success growing the species when sited in a shaded, sheltered location that is free from desiccating winter sun and wind exposure. Rich soils with good drainage appear to be important for success as is a pH that is slightly acidic. As an added bonus, plants are reported to be deer resistant and are worthy considerations for screening in shaded locations.