||This genus of about 60 species of deciduous small trees or shrubs is widely distributed from southern USA to Central and South America, Southeast Asia, with a few species native to Madeira. They are grown for their white fragrant flowers, often borne in long racemes or panicles, giving rise to the common name, lily-of-the-valley tree. Some have attractive peeling bark and the flowers are followed by numerous tiny seed capsules.
||CULTIVATION: Being closely related to the erica family, clethras like a lime-free soil and a moist sheltered spot, with some shade from taller trees. They can be propagated from seed, cuttings or layers.