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A very robust deciduous shrub, of spreading, open habit, becoming in a few years 8 or 9 ft high and more in diameter; buds awl-shaped, at first hairy; young shoots glandular when quite young. Leaves ovate, rounded or heart-shaped at the base, slender-pointed, 11⁄2 to 4 in. long, 3⁄4 to 13⁄4 in. wide, dull green, hairy on both sides and on the margins. On the vigorous barren shoots the leafstalks (each about 1⁄4 in. long) are attached to a pair of stipules, which are united and form a shield-like disk surrounding the stem at each joint. These are not present on the flowering branches. Flowers yellow, produced in pairs during early June from the apex of the shoot, and in the upper leaf-axils. Corolla two-lipped, 3⁄4 in. across, with a bellied tube 1⁄3 in. long, downy outside. Each pair of flowers is subtended by two leaflike bracts and the ovaries are surrounded at the base by a cupula composed of the united bractlets. Fruits bright red.
Native of Mongolia and China; introduced in 1900. It is a remarkably distinct species, and flowers freely. The shield-like stipules mentioned above persist through the winter and become brown, stiff and brittle the second year.