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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, 21⁄2 to 4 in. long, 11⁄4 to 21⁄4 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 1⁄12 to 1⁄2 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, 3⁄8 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.
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. wilsonii Koehne
P. subcanus var. wilsonii (Koehne) Rehd