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A shrub or small tree up to 25 ft high in the wild; bark of the one-year-old branchlets brown or purple. Leaves minute, narrow at the base, glabrous. Flowers in slender racemes 1 to 2 in. long, white tinged with pink outside, each flower produced in the axil of a narrow bract. Petals deciduous, elliptic or elliptic-ovate, rounded at the apex, about one-twelfth of an inch long. Stamens five, each inserted on a lobe of the disk and widening into it (the disk therefore not showing rounded teeth between the points of attachment as in T. ramosissima and T. chinensis).
Native of western Europe, ranging to northwest France and N. Africa; long cultivated in the maritime parts of Britain and naturalised in some localities, or at least apparently wild. But some plants grown as T. gallica are T. chinensis (q.v. under T. ramosissima), while others are the following:
T. africana Poir. T. hispanica Boiss. – A native of southwest Europe and N. Africa, closely allied to T. gallica and with a similar flower-structure. Although this species normally flowers on the previous year’s wood, it also has ‘aestival’ forms, i.e., bearing their flowers on the season’s wood, and these are not easy to distinguish from T. gallica. The most reliable differences would appear to be that in T. africana part at least of the petals are persistent and that they are subacute to acuminate at the apex. The petals are also somewhat longer, to 1⁄8 in. long, but this difference only holds good for the vernal forms of T. africana. A specimen collected near Weymouth in Dorset has been identified as T. africana by Baum, and a plant from the Hampshire coast appears also to belong to this species. See also T. chinensis under T. ramosissima.