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A shrub to about 12 ft high, sometimes taller, of compact habit; twigs smooth and glossy, brown, sparsely lenticellate; winter-buds conical, 3⁄8 to 5⁄8 in. long, the scales hairy at the edge, otherwise glabrous. Leaves simple, elliptic, 31⁄2 to 43⁄4 in. long, about 2 in. wide, glossy dark green above, matted with grey hairs beneath, sharply toothed and also mostly shallowly lobed in the upper half, the lobes diminishing in size towards the apex; petiole about 5⁄8 in. long. Flowers borne in May in dense rounded clusters 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 in. wide, held erect on stiff white-hairy stalks. Petals trowel-shaped, 3⁄8 in. long, white on the inside, edged with deep pink, flushed with pink on the outside. Stamen-filaments cream-coloured, anthers pink at first, later cream flushed with pink. Styles two. Fruits ovoid, six to eight in each truss, held erect, slightly over 1⁄2 in. long, lustrous red, with small straw-coloured lenticels.
A hybrid between S. chamaemespilus and S. mougeotii, varying according to whether the second parent is the western, typical subspecies or the more eastern S. mougeotii subsp. austriaca. It was originally described in 1826 from a plant growing in the Vienna Botanic Garden. A form of this hybrid, of unrecorded provenance, was distributed in the 1870s by Messrs Simon-Louis of Metz, but the description given above is adapted from Dr Fox’s account of the plant that once grew in the Winkworth Arboretum. This was 9 ft high when eight years old and about 4 ft in spread; it no longer exists but was undoubtedly authentic, which is more than can be said about some plants distributed as S. × hostii. The true hybrid is one of rare beauty both in flower and fruit, and valuable for the small garden, or where space is limited.