Philadelphus incanus Koehne

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Philadelphus incanus' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-06-21.


(pl. calyces) Outer whorl of the perianth. Composed of several sepals.
Lying flat against an object.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
(of fruit) Vernacular English term for winged samaras (as in e.g. Acer Fraxinus Ulmus)
Egg-shaped; broadest towards the stem.
Generally an elongated structure arising from the ovary bearing the stigma at its tip.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Philadelphus incanus' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-06-21.

A shrub up to 8 ft or more high; young shoots more or less hairy. Leaves ovate or oval, broadly wedge-shaped or almost rounded at the base, slender-pointed, finely toothed, 212 to 4 in. long, 114 to 214 in. wide on the barren shoots; those of the flowering twigs mostly 1 to 2 in. long; upper surface set with sparse minute hairs, the lower one thickly covered with appressed pale, stiff hairs giving it a dull grey hue; stalk 112 to 12 in. long, bristly. Flowers white, fragrant, about 1 in. across, produced five to nine (usually seven) together on downy racemes about 2 in. long, at the end of leafy shoots of about the same length. Petals roundish; style about the average length of the stamens, glabrous, divided quite half-way down; disk glabrous. Calyx and flower-stalk shaggy, like the undersurface of the leaves. Fruits top-shaped, 38 in. long.

Native of W. Hupeh and Shensi, China; discovered by Henry about 1887 and introduced by Wilson in 1904. It flowers late – from middle to late July or even into August – and the species is desirable on that account. It is also charmingly fragrant with an odour like that of hawthorn.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

P. subcanus – It was mentioned on page 133 that plants at Wake hurst Place, Sussex, grown under this name differ from the species as defined by Hu in having the style and disk glabrous. It is interesting that plants raised from Lancaster 498 and 524, collected in western Szechwan on Mount Omei in 1980, also differ from P. subcanus in this respect and would actually run down to P. sericanthus in Hu’s key to the series Sericanthi (Journ. Arn. Arb., Vol. 36, p. 337). However, they disagree in other respects, and there is the further consideration that P. sericanthus has not been reported from western Szechwan, while several specimens collected on Mount Omei are referred by Hu to P. subcanus.

Plants from the new introduction grow vigorously and first bore flowers in 1985. They have a strong, distinct fragrance.

P subcanus Koehne

P. wilsonii Koehne
P. subcanus var. wilsonii (Koehne) Rehd

This species is very closely allied to P. incanus and was first separated from it in 1904. It differs in having the calyx and the underside of the leaves more sparsely hairy; also the disk and the lower part of the style are downy (glabrous in P. incanus). Native of W. Szechwan. Wilson may have introduced it while collecting for Messrs Veitch, but it is mainly and perhaps wholly represented in cultivation by Wilson’s introduction during his first expedition for the Arnold Arboretum. The plants (sometimes labelled P. wilsonii) flower earlier than P. incanus, in late June or early July.At Wakehurst Place in Sussex there are plants of unknown origin, the largest 15 ft high and as much wide, which agree with P. subcanus except that the style and disk is glabrous, as in P. incanus. The best is very free flowering, with racemes of up to eleven flowers, usually the lower two pairs in the axils of normal leaves.