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An evergreen shrub up to 10 ft high, of dense habit; young shoots thickly clothed with short fine down, becoming greyish. Leaves glabrous, of thin texture, ovate, oval or obovate, mucronate or bluntish at the apex, rounded or wedge-shaped at the base, 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. long, about 1⁄2 in. wide, dark bright green above. Flowers white, scented like common privet, densely packed in terminal panicles which are 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. long, augmented sometimes by axillary racemes. Corolla 1⁄6 in. long, anthers violet-coloured; flower-stalks downy. Fruits black, roundish ovoid, 1⁄4 in. wide, produced in closely packed clusters. Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 60.
Native of Yunnan and W. Szechwan; introduced by the Abbé Delavay by means of seeds sent to Maurice de Vilmorin at Les Barres in 1890. It flowered there in 1893 and was described as a new species under the above name in 1900, at about which time it was introduced to Kew. Forrest found it in the Lichiang range in 1906 and from the specimen he sent home Diels, in 1912, described a new species – L. ionandrum – and when Forrest later sent seeds they were distributed under that name. But there is no doubt that Forrest’s privet belongs to L. delavayanum and that L. ionandrum was therefore a superfluous name. Another introduction was by Wilson from Szechwan, when collecting for the Arnold Arboretum; this was at first known as L. prattii, another synonym of L. delavayanum.
It is a pity that Forrest cannot be credited with either the discovery or the first introduction of this privet, for he thought highly of it and considered it to be one of the twelve best shrubs that he had introduced. Grown in the open, it makes a dense flat-topped bush about 6 ft high, but becomes taller if drawn up by the shade of trees. It is not completely hardy, but would make an attractive hedge in the milder parts of the country, and is so used at Headfort in Ireland.