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A shrub to 15 ft high with moderately stout branches, tending to be pendulous, and more or less densely appressed hairy. Leaves oblong or lanceolate-oblong or oblong-elliptic, acuminate to caudate, mostly 24⁄5 to 34⁄5 in. long and 3⁄4 to 11⁄6 in. wide, serrulate, thin, deep shining green above, light green and sparsely villose along the midrib below. Flowers numerous on short green stalks which bear four or five persistent bracteoles; sepals five, small, rounded, and hairy; corolla white, about 1 in. across, of five petals strongly united to the stamens which are fused for one-third to one-half their length from the base into a tube; ovary glabrous.
Native of S.W. China, Burma, and Indochina, at 4,000 to 8,000 ft. It was introduced by Forrest in 1917–19 and 1924 and requires protection except in the mildest parts of the British Isles. It resembles C. cuspidata but is easily distinguished by its hairy branches, softer leaves, and longer pedicels. It was given an Award of Merit as a shrub for the cool greenhouse when shown from the Savill Gardens in February 1960.
† C. lutchuensis Ito – This species, a native of the Ryukyu Islands between Japan and Formosa, is closely allied to C. tsaii. It is of interest to breeders for its scented flowers; see further in the interesting chapter by K. C. Hailstone of California in Macoboy, Dictionary of Camellias, pp. 191–4. One of its hybrids already in commerce in Britain is ‘Fragrant Pink’, of which the other parent is C. japonica subsp. rusticana. It is hardy and flowers well in a sunny position, but Messrs Trehane report that its scent is only perceptible indoors.