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A deciduous shrub of loose, spreading, graceful habit, 6 to 10 ft high; branchlets hollow; young shoots very downy. Leaves ovate or oval, usually tapered at the base, pointed, 3⁄4 to 11⁄4 in. long, 1⁄2 to 7⁄8 in. wide, pale glaucous green, downy on both surfaces, especially beneath; stalk up to 1⁄4 in. long. Flowers produced in pairs from the leaf-axils of short lateral branchlets in June, pale rose-coloured. Corolla 2⁄3 in. long, two-lipped, the tube slender and about as long as the lobes, downy inside; flower-stalk 1⁄3 in. long, downy. Berries red.
Native of the mountains of Soviet Central Asia and of the bordering parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan; first cultivated by A. Lavallée, of Segrez, France, who received seeds from Col. Korolkow of Moscow, but first distinguished as a species in 1893 from a plant growing in the Arnold Arboretum, received from Lavallée. Its most striking character when in leaf is the pale grey hue of the whole plant. It is a beautiful and graceful shrub, but does not flower so freely in this country as on the continent and in the USA.
L. zabelii Rehd