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A small tree in the wild, under 30 ft high, or a shrub; young shoots hairy, becoming reddish brown and glabrous; winter buds ovoid, densely to sparsely coated with white silky hairs, 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 in. long. Leaves up to about 7 in. long including petiole 11⁄4 in. long, with five to seven pairs of leaflets; rachis broadly grooved above, white-hairy. Lateral leaflets oblong-elliptic or oblong-lanceolate, mostly 13⁄4 to 21⁄4 in. long, about 5⁄8 in. wide, acute at the apex, more or less oblique at the base, but the basal pair often much shorter and more obtuse than the others, sharply toothed in the upper half or two-thirds (but with coarse, spreading and partly double teeth in a sterile specimen collected by Purdom), glabrous above, undersurface whitish with darker reticulations, sparsely hairy, more densely so on the midrib, becoming nearly glabrous by autumn. Stipules under the inflorescence fan-shaped, toothed, up to about 1⁄2 in. long, sometimes much smaller or even lacking. Inflorescence dense, much branched, up to 5 in. wide, its branches slender, not lenticellate, sparsely to densely white-hairy. Flowers white, opening in May; receptacle sparsely hairy to almost glabrous. Petals broadly ovate, hairy on the inner surface. Stamens about as long as the petals. Fruits red, globose, about 3⁄8 in. wide.
A native of the mountains of northern China; discovered by Dr Bretschneider on the Pohuashan, a mountain about 60 miles west of Peking, in 1874 and introduced by him in 1882. It was reintroduced by Frank Meyer from the Hsiao-Wutai-shan, another of the mountains west of Peking, in 1913.
It is uncertain whether the true species is now in cultivation in Britain; at least there seem to be none that can be traced back to a direct introduction from the wild. Some plants under the name are a form of S. esserteauiana. Others really agree quite well with S. pohuashanensis except in being more robust, but they were apparently first distributed as “S. conradinae”, properly a synonym of S. esserteauiana, which suggests that they were raised from seed of that species, the pollen-parent being probably S. aucuparia. The true S. pohuashanensis is related to both these species, and something very like it might arise from garden crosses between them.
S. ‘Kewensis’. – A tree under the name S. × kewensis received an Award of Merit when exhibited by Kew in 1948 as a probable hybrid between S. esserteauiana and S. pohuashanensis. No description was published and no specimen was deposited in the Kew herbarium; nor, so far as is known, does this tree exist any longer. For the plants distributed by Messrs Hillier as ‘Kewensis’, see ‘Chinese Lace’ below.
S. × kewensis Hensen – A tree received from Kew by the Wageningen Arboretum in 1948 was considered by Dr Hensen to be a hybrid between S. pohuashanensis and S. aucuparia, differing from the former in the small stipules under the inflorescence. But judging from wild material in the Kew Herbarium, the stipules in S. pohuashanensis are often very small, or even lacking; Roy Lancaster took the trouble during a visit to China in 1979 to examine the specimens of S. pohuashanensis in the Peking Herbarium, and was able to confirm this conclusion. For the S. pohuashanensis of the Botanical Magazine, identified by Dr Hensen as his S. × kewensis, see ‘Pagoda Red’ below.
S. ‘Pagoda Red’. – A very small and slow-growing shrubby tree, agreeing with S. pohuashanensis except that the leaflets have coarse, spreading teeth and that there appear to be no stipules at all under the inflorescence. It agrees rather better with S. amurensis Koehne of the Amur region and Korea, but this species is allied to S. pohuashanensis and included in it by Dr Yü. The provenance of this plant is uncertain, but it is a good match for Wilson 9154, collected by Wilson during his expedition to Korea. ‘Pagoda Red’ received an Award of Merit when shown from Kew in 1971, and is portrayed in Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 133, as S. pohuashanensis.
S. ‘Chinese Lace’. – A seedling of either ‘Pagoda Red’ or of another similar plant once grown at Kew, raised by Messrs Hillier and originally distributed as S. × kewensis. It is an interesting large shrub with abnormally narrow, jaggedly toothed leaflets. Inflorescences with fan-shaped stipules to about 1⁄4 in. long and 3⁄8 in. wide. Fruits orange-red, glossy, very many in trusses to 6 in. wide.