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A densely branched evergreen bush of spreading habit 3 to 5 ft high; young shoots slender but rigid, felted with grey wool. Leaves oval or ovate, tapered about equally to both ends, terminated by a fine point; 1⁄3 to 3⁄4 in. long, 1⁄4 to 2⁄5 in. wide; glossy green and with loose hairs above, clothed beneath with a thick, greyish wool; veins in two to four pairs; stalks 1⁄12 to 1⁄8 in. long. Flowers white, 1⁄5 in. wide, borne in six- to ten-flowered corymbs; petals roundish; stamens twenty; calyx woolly, with triangular-ovate teeth. Fruit bright red, roundish obovoid (broadest above the middle), 1⁄4 in. long, packed in umbel-like clusters at the end of short twigs that have sprung from the growths of the previous year.
Native of S.E. Yunnan, China; introduced by Wilson in 1899 to the Coombe Wood nursery. It is most closely allied to C. franchetii among older species, but is dwarfer and stiffer in habit, the leaves smaller, the berries a richer red, especially on the exposed side.
This is one of the few species introduced by Wilson from Yunnan. Wilson had arrived in China for the first time in 1899 and before proceeding to Hupeh he paid a visit to Szemao in S. Yunnan to seek the advice and guidance of Augustine Henry, who was then stationed there. Seeds of Cotoneaster amoenus and harrovianus, and plants of Jasminum primulinum, were collected during this visit, which was a prelude to his many fruitful journeys in Hupeh and Szechwan.
This species is now in cultivation from seed collected by Roy Lancaster in the hills west of Kunming in 1980 (L.680 and 708). The plants raised have proved to be of varied habit, but those seen are making bushy shrubs to almost 5 ft high, the foliage dark green above but appearing grey from a distance from the thin cobwebby coating of the upper surface and the white indumentum beneath showing at the edges. Fruits ripening in autumn, not showy. Some plants raised were completely prostrate, however, and others are said to be almost fastigiate.