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A small tree, forming a rounded, bushy head of branches, and apparently unlikely to be more than 15 to 20 ft high; branchlets and buds greyish, downy. Leaves 3 to 7 in. long, with three or five leaflets attached to the upper third of the main leaf-stalk, which is scurfy and purplish on the upper side, and has a swollen, dark purple base, leaflets oval or ovate, 1 to 31⁄2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 13⁄4 in. wide, the apex abruptly tapered, the base rounded or wedged-shaped; shallowly toothed or almost entire, dull green, glabrous; stalks of side leaflets 1⁄10 to 1⁄4 in. long, that of the terminal leaflet up to 3⁄4 in. long; all purple at the base. Flowers creamy white, in axillary and terminal panicles 3 to 6 in. long; produced in June. Fruits 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. long, 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 in. wide; very handsome in July, when they become deep purple.
Native of Central China; introduced by Maries for Messrs Veitch in 1878. Of the flowering ashes (section Ornus) this is the most ornamental, being very pretty both in flower and fruit. Being of slow growth and never of large size it is admirable for small gardens. It received an Award of Merit in 1962, when shown by Maurice Mason of Talbot Manor, King’s Lynn, Norfolk.
See under F. sieboldiana in this supplement.