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A deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub up to 9 ft high; young shoots at first indistinctly four-angled, clothed with a dense grey wool. Leaves narrowly lance-shaped, tapered towards both ends, but more gradually to the long fine point, mostly entire; 21⁄2 to 6 in. long, 1⁄2 to 2 in. wide; dull dark green and slightly downy above, clothed with pale grey wool beneath; stalk 1⁄3 in. or less long. Flowers fragrant, produced in a terminal panicle 3 to 12 in. long, 21⁄2 in. wide, composed of short-stalked racemes or cymes. Each flower is 3⁄8 in. wide, pale lilac with a yellow eye; corolla four-lobed, the slender tube 1⁄3 in. long, hairy at the throat and downy outside. Calyx small, woolly, with short teeth. Bot. Mag., t. 8401.
Native of Hupeh and Szechwan, China; named by Maximowicz in 1880, introduced to cultivation by Wilson in 1908. At Kew it has to be grown in pots and given greenhouse treatment from October onwards, as it is valuable in flowering for three months in midwinter. Hardy in Cornwall and similar mild localities, where it should be welcome on account of the season at which its delicate lilac, fragrant blossoms open. It is closely allied to B. heliophila, but in that species the leaves are almost sessile and the corollas up to 1⁄2 in. long.