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A semi-evergreen or deciduous shrub or tree, the tree-forms said to attain a height of 40 ft in the wild; young stems glabrous. Leaves ovate or elliptic or ovate-oblong, 2 to 7 in. long, 1 to 4 in. wide, entire, usually rather leathery, acute or shortly acuminate at the apex, usually rounded at the base, glabrous or downy on the veins beneath. Flowers in axillary, one-sided racemes 2 to 4 in. long, sometimes with leafy bracts at the base, borne on the previous year’s wood in May-June. Corollas white or flesh-pink, narrowly egg-shaped, downy on the outside. Sepals triangular-lanceolate or ovate. Capsules about 3⁄16 in. wide.
A common species in the mountains of E. Asia from Kashmir to China and Formosa, and represented in Japan by the var. elliptica (see below); introduced from the Himalaya in 1825 and reintroduced by Forrest from Yunnan in 1930–1 under F.30956. The Himalayan form is rather tender and has always been rare in cultivation, nor is the hardier Forrest form any commoner. The main interest of the species is that it is one of the most characteristic members of oak- and pine-associations in the Sino-Himalayan region, often found in the Himalaya with Rhododendron arboreum.
This species ranges more widely than stated, to the Malay Peninsula. Its variations are discussed by Judd in op. cit., pp. 149–177.
Andromeda elliptica Sieb. & Zucc.
Pieris ovalifolia var. elliptica (Sieb. & Zucc.) Rehd. & Wils
A. lanceolata Wall.
Pieris ovalifolia var. lanceolata (Wall.) C. B. Clarke