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A deciduous or, in warm localities, a more or less evergreen shrub or small tree, said to be sometimes 40 ft high in Sikkim; young shoots clothed with down. Leaves 11⁄2 to 31⁄2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 1 in. wide, lanceolate, pale glossy green, quite glabrous; stalk 1⁄8 to 3⁄8 in. long, grooved on the upper side. Panicles downy like the young shoots, produced in June and July at the end of leafy twigs that spring from the previous year’s branches. Flowers white, 1⁄6 in. wide, scarcely stalked. Calyx cup-shaped, glabrous, with shallow triangular lobes. Stamens white with pink anthers. Fruits black, covered with a plum-like bloom, 1⁄2 in. long, 1⁄3 in. wide.
Native of the Himalaya from E. Nepal to Bhutan, and of the Hills of Khasia; introduced to Kew in 1919 by means of seeds from Calcutta. It is not genuinely hardy in the open at Kew (although it survives) but grows luxuriantly on a south wall. There it flowers very freely, producing its panicles, each 3 or 4 in. long and 2 or 3 in. wide, numerously in a cluster at the end of the previous year’s growth. It is one of the best of the privets in regard to blossom, the corolla being of a purer white than is usual, but it is even more striking when thickly hung with its panicles of black-purple berries. I believe it would make a handsome small tree in the southern and western maritime counties. The specific name refers to its having been confused with L. robustum (not described in this work), which has more cylindrical fruits and larger leaves.
L. confusum is at present represented at Kew by a plant 10 ft high in the Ligustrum collection, raised from seeds received from Darjeeling in 1940. It is cut in severe winters.