Fendlera rupicola A. Gray
This species is represented in cultivation by the following variety:
var. wrightii A. Gr. F. wrightii (A. Gr.) Heller – A deciduous shrub 3 to 6 ft high, of somewhat thin, straggling habit under cultivation, and with ribbed, downy young shoots. Leaves opposite, lanceolate on the sterile branches, 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. long, 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. wide, prominently three-nerved, rough with stiff, short bristles above, hairy beneath, almost without stalks; on the flowering twigs the leaves are much smaller, linear, up to 5⁄8 in. long, 1⁄4 in. wide, clustered on short twigs. Flowers white or faintly rose-tinted, 3⁄4 to 11⁄4 in. across, usually solitary, sometimes in threes, produced during May and June on short twigs sparingly from the wood of the previous year; petals four, contracted at the base into a distinct claw, hairy outside; calyx downy, with four narrow, ovate lobes; stamens eight. Seed-vessel conical, 1⁄2 in. long, with the calyx persisting at the base. Bot. Mag., t. 7924.
Native of the south-western United States, extending into N. Mexico; introduced to Europe about 1879. This shrub – one of the most beautiful of its own region – is too much of a sun-lover to be seen at its best in our climate. It comes from sunburnt slopes in the mountains, where it is a sturdy, rigid-branched shrub, and produces a great wealth of rosy-tinted flowers, which are said to give it the appearance of a peach-tree, although the four petals and opposite leaves, of course, proclaim a different affinity. E. A. Bowles was very successful with it at Myddleton House, Enfield, on the northern outskirts of London, and it would no doubt flower best in the drier parts of eastern England. Elsewhere, and perhaps even there, it needs the sunniest position that can be given it, against a wall. It is propagated by cuttings of rather soft wood in gentle heat.
In the typical variety of F. rupicola the leaves are glabrous, or almost so, beneath, and larger (up to 11⁄4 in. long on the flowering shoots). But it should be added that the cultivated plants have the leaves less hairy beneath than in wild specimens of the var. wrightii.