Itea (plant)

Stechpalmenblättrige rosemary willow ( Itea ilicifolia )

The Itea, also called rosemary willow (not to be confused with the rosemary willow ( Salix rosmarinifolia ) ), is the only plant genus of the family of Iteaceae. The botanical genus name is derived from the Greek word Itea Itea - ιτέα, for pasture and refers to the similar habit.


The Itea species are evergreen or deciduous shrubs or small trees. The alternate and spirally arranged on the branches leaves are stalked and easy. The leaf margin is rarely smooth, usually serrate, serrated serrated to prickly. There are small stipules present.

Many flowers are grouped in axillary or terminal, simple or branched racemose or paniculate inflorescences. The small, fragrant flowers are hermaphrodite or unisexual, radial symmetry and fünfzählig. The five sepals are fused. The five petals are white or yellowish - green. It's just a circle with five free, fertile stamens present. The pollen is biporat. There is an annular disc provided. Two carpels are fused to an above- permanent or partly inferior ovary; it is fused with the discus. The ovary chamber are four to fifty ovules usually in two rows. The two free or partially fused pen each terminating in a capitate stigma or have grown only in the area of the scar.

On the narrow to ovate capsule fruit sepals and petals are still present and it contains many or few seeds.


The genus Itea has a disjoint area: Southeast Asia to the western Malay Archipelago, one species ( Itea virginica ) in eastern North America, eastern tropical and southern ( capensis) of Africa. In China, 15 species are endemic, of which ten are endemic.


The genus Itea was formerly classified in the family of Escalloniaceae. The genus name comes from the Greek Itea and was used for various willows (Salix ) is used. The term was already used by Homer in both the Iliad and the Odyssey. Carl Linnaeus transferred the name to the genus of rosemary willow, of which he knew only the herein described American rosemary with their pasture -like leaves. Synonyms for Itea L. are Choristylis Harv. , Diconangia Adans. , Kurrimia Wall. ex Meisn. , Reinia Franch. Some authors Choristylis Harv is. its own monotypic genus.

In the genus Itea and thus in the family Iteaceae there are about 18 to 27 species (selection):

  • Itea amoena Chun
  • Itea chinensis Hook. & Arn.
  • Itea coriacea Y.C.Wu
  • Itea glutinosa Handel-Mazzetti
  • Stechpalmenblättrige rosemary willow ( Itea ilicifolia Oliv. )
  • Itea indochinensis Merrill
  • Itea kiukiangensis C.C.Huang & S.C.Huang
  • Itea kwangsiensis H.T.Chang
  • Itea japonica Oliv.
  • Itea macrophylla Wallich
  • Itea nutans Royle
  • Itea oldhamii C.K.Schneid.
  • Itea omeiensis C.K.Schneid.
  • Itea parviflora Hemsl.
  • Itea rhamnoides (. Syn: Choristylis rhamnoides Harv, Choristylis shirensis Baker f ); occurs in South Africa
  • Itea riparia Collett & Hemsley
  • Itea tenuinervia S.Y.Liu
  • American rosemary willow ( Itea virginica L.): History is the eastern North America. From it there are some varieties that are used as ornamental plants for parks and gardens.
  • Itea yangchunensis S.Y.Jin
  • Itea yunnanensis Franch. ; the German name 'Chinese rosemary willow ' is not unique, because there are ten endemic species in China.


First of all the varieties of the American rosemary willow ( Itea virginica ) can be used as an ornamental plant in parks and gardens.

From Itea japonica, the young leaves are eaten cooked.


American rosemary willow ( Itea virginica ):

Autumn colors



  • The Iteaceae in APWebsite family. (English )
  • The Iteaceae at DELTA by L. Watson & MJ Dallwitz family. (English )
  • Jin Shuying & Hideaki Ohba: Itea in the Flora of China, Volume 8, S 423: Online.
  • J. K. Jarvie & Ermayanti: Itea in Tree Genera of Borneo - Descriptions and Illustrations: Online.
  • Klaus Kubitzki: Iteaceae in The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants, Volume 9, 2007 ISBN 978-3-540-32214-6.