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An evergreen shrub or small tree 10 to 20 ft high, with angular, very downy young shoots. Leaves opposite, narrowly oval, wedge-shaped at the base, slenderly pointed, entire; 11⁄2 to 5 in. long, 1⁄2 to 13⁄4 in. wide; dark glossy green and clothed with appressed hairs above, dull grey beneath and downy, especially on the midrib; stalk 1⁄4 to 3⁄4 in. long, covered with the same yellowish-brown down that occurs on the young shoots and midrib of the leaves; veins five or six each side the midrib. Flowers white, in a terminal pyramidal panicle 3 in. high and wide, scented; each blossom is about 1⁄6 in. wide; flower-stalks and calyx downy. Fruit described as ovoid, 1⁄3 in. long.
Native of the Himalaya, Khasia Hills, Szechwan and Yunnan in China. It was originally described by Wallich in 1820 from Indian material. Henry discovered it in the two Chinese provinces mentioned. Although it is described by Loudon and said by him to have been introduced in 1818, it is very uncommon in cultivation now. It was grown by the late Lord Wakehurst at Wakehurst Place in Sussex, and it is from a flowering specimen he sent to me in October 1921 that the description given above was made. He had obtained his plant from Veitch’s nursery at Coombe Wood some eight years previously, so that it had very probably been introduced by Wilson during his early journeys for that firm. The plant was 10 ft high and perfectly healthy in April 1931. A plant of similar size bloomed at Lanarth, December 1934.
This species must now be very rare in gardens. The specimen at Wakehurst mentioned above no longer exists and the one at Lanarth has not been traced.