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Tree to 6 m. Branchlets thick, stiff and to 0.7 cm diameter. Buds 1–2 cm long, conical to ovoid, scales crimson to green with white hairs on the margins and apices. Leaves to 24 cm long, with 8–10 pairs of leaflets. Leaflets leathery, 5.6 × 1.2 cm, upper surface glabrous, lower surface white and densely papillose, margins dentate at apex or to two-thirds of their length; stipules persistent and leafy, 1.7 × 2 cm, lobed and dentate; petiole with glabrous sheathing at base. Inflorescences dense and corymbose, erect, even when in fruit. Fruit white or with a slight crimson flush, broadly turbinate, 0.55–0.75 × 0.8–1 cm; calyx lobes hardly fleshy, carpels five. Sexual diploid (2n = 34). McAllister 2005a. Distribution CHINA: Yunnan. Habitat Open hillsides with Abies and Rhododendron. USDA Hardiness Zone 6. Conservation status Not evaluated.
The pale undersides to the large leaves make Sorbus hypoglauca distinct from all other Sorbus and an interesting species for the collector. The broad inflorescences are reminiscent of those of S. rehderiana but in the latter the stipules are small and caducous. Sorbus hypoglauca fails to score high marks, however, as its autumn coloration is a dull brown and the fruiting corymbs soon break up (McAllister 2005a). It is very rare in cultivation, although grown at Ness, Tregrehan and elsewhere from collections made by Keith Rushforth in the Cangshan, Yunnan in 1993 and 1996 (KR 2733, 2738, 2746, 4047, 4061).