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A compact, bushy shrub, ultimately 5 or 6 ft high, if it survives long enough; young shoots, leaves, flower-stalks, and sepals covered with a dense, whitish, starry down. Leaves stalkless, oval, oblong or ovate, 3⁄4 to 2 in. long, 1⁄3 to 3⁄4 in. wide, rounded or blunt at the apex, three-nerved at the base, and strongly net-veined beneath. Flowers pale rosy lilac, with a patch of yellow at the base of each petal, about 21⁄2 in. across, borne on a stalk 3⁄4 to 1 in. long, and crowded three to eight together in a terminal cluster. Sepals five, broadly ovate, 3⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long.
Native of S.W. Europe and N. Africa; cultivated in 1640. It is one of the hardier sorts, and will survive all but our hardest winters. The epithet albidus, it should be noted, refers to the foliage, and not to the flowers. It has hybridised with and is closely allied to C. crispus, from which it differs in its flat, not undulated leaves, and its comparatively long-stalked flowers – those of crispus being almost stalkless.
† C. ‘Peggy Sammons’. – This hybrid is the result of a deliberate cross between C. albidus (seed-parent) and C. laurifolius, made by J. E. Sammons; five plants were raised but only this one was named (The Garden (Journ. R.H.S.), Vol. 106 (1981), p. 474). It is an erect shrub to about 6 ft high, with pale pink flowers and grey-green foliage, and is likely to supersede the old ‘Silver Pink’, which is beginning to lose its vigour.
C. × delilei Burnat