Paxistima canbyi is a species of small broadleaf evergreen shrub or groundcover. It is in the family Celastraceae, and is known by the common names of Canby’s mountain-lover, rat-stripper, or cliff green. It is native to the Appalachian Region of the eastern United States. It grows in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 7.
It has opposite, simple, evergreen, linear-oblong or narrow oblong leaves about 1⁄4 to 1 inch (6.4 to 25.4 mm) long and 3⁄16 inch (4.8 mm) wide or less. The foliage is of fine texture and is lustrous dark green above in summer and often develops a bronze tint in cold weather. The tiny, inconspicuous flowers are perfect and greenish or reddish-green blooming in late April or early May with four petals and sepals. The tiny, inconspicuous fruit is a leathery two-valved capsule about 1⁄16 inch (1.6 mm) long and white.
In the wild it grows over a large range of conditions from a shady site with moist, organic soil to full sun with calcareous, rocky soil on uplands and cliffs. When trying to grow it in a garden or landscape, it is best to grow it in a moist but well-drained organic acidic soil in a shady, sheltered site, as it is finicky and often does not adapt to cultivation and dies out even with good conditions. It is a rare plant in landscapes, but is sold by some large or specialty or native plant nurseries, usually in small pots, as a groundcover. Canby’s mountain-lover is listed as a candidate species for federal listing by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. (Wikipedia) Photo credit: