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TEXT FROM BEAN, WHERE IT WAS DESCRIBED AS WATTAKAKA SINENSIS.
A climbing or creeping evergreen shrub with densely downy young stems and a dark, warty bark. Leaves opposite, ovate, cordate at the base, tapered at the apex to a sharp point, 13⁄4 to 4 in. long, up to 3 in. wide, slightly hairy above, densely clad beneath with a velvety down; petioles 5⁄8 to 15⁄8 in. long. Flowers fragrant, slenderly stalked, produced in June or July up to twenty-five together in nodding, downy, umbel-like inflorescences, which spring from the stem near the leaf-insertions; common stalk 11⁄4 to 21⁄4 in. long. Calyx downy, deeply divided into five ovate or oblong-ovate segments. Corolla about 5⁄8 in. wide; segments five, broadly ovate-elliptic, ciliate, white or cream-coloured, speckled and streaked with red. The centre of the flower is almost filled by the dome-shaped stigmatic head, surrounded by the five knob-shaped appendages of the corona and the membranous tips of the anthers. Fruit of two spindle-shaped follicles 2 to 23⁄4 in. long; seeds with a tuft of hairs at one end. Bot. Mag., t. 8976.
Native of China; discovered by Henry in 1887 growing near Ichang in Hupeh, and introduced by Wilson from the same locality in 1907. The first recorded flowering in Britain was in 1922 at Aldenham, where it had grown on a wall unharmed by frost for many years. Although an interesting and attractive species, it is not showy, and has never become frequent in gardens.
The species described here is of interest as an almost hardy relative of Hoya, many species of which are cultivated for ornament in greenhouses. The former generic name comes from ‘Wattakaka-kodi’, the native name on the Malabar Coast for the type-species of the genus, W. volubilis (L.f.) Stapf (Asclepias volubilis L.f.).