This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
A South American genus of evergreen shrubs with white or red flowers in terminal panicles, or more rarely axillary. Calyx superior. Petals 5, linear-spathulate, with an erect claw and spreading limb. Stamens 5, epigynous. Fruit capsular, 2- or 3-celled, many-seeded; seeds minute. Named in honour of Escallon, a Spanish traveller. Some of the species are hardy in the South-west of England, where they succeed well near the sea.
1. E. macrantha. - This is one of the best, having rather large crimson-red flowers. It is a branching erect shrub about 6 feet high, glandular-pubescent on the younger parts. Leaves oblong or elliptical, serrated, coriaceous, shining, glandular-dotted below. Chiloe.
2. E. rubra. - A more slender species with obovate deeply-serrated leaves and smaller flowers. There are two varieties, one with red flowers, and the other white. Chili.
E. pterocladon, from Patagonia, is a very different plant with small leaves and small axillary white and pink flowers. It is remarkable for its winged hairy branches. E. floribunda is an evergreen shrub with Arbutus-like leaves and numerous white flowers.
Itea Virginiea, an allied deciduous shrub from North America, resembles the Willow in habit, hence the generic appellation. It rises to a height of about 6 feet. Leaves ovate-lanceolate, dentate, acute. Flowers small, white, in dense terminal racemes or spikes.