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A deciduous small tree of spreading, graceful habit, up to 20 ft high eventually; young shoots glabrous. Leaves ovate, oval, or ovate-lanceolate, 2 to 4 in. long, 1 to 2 in. wide, mostly tapering, sometimes rounded at the base, long and tapering at the apex, quite glabrous on both surfaces; stalk slender, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long. Flowers cream-coloured, very densely clustered in numerous loose panicles 3 to 6 in. long, produced in pairs. Seed-vessel 5⁄8 to 3⁄4 in. long, glabrous, pointed at the end.
Native of the mountains of N. China, where it was discovered by the Abbé David. It was raised at Kew in 1881 from seed sent from Peking by Dr Bretschneider. Botanically allied to S. reticulata, it is very distinct as seen growing. It has much more slender branches, the leaves are smaller, the inflorescence instead of being sturdy, pyramidal, and erect, is smaller and is a loose, rather shapeless panicle; the seed vessel, too, differs in the more pointed apex. It is perfectly hardy, and has grown more quickly at Kew than S. reticulata. It flowers freely towards the end of June.