A shrub or small tree to about 15 ft high, with usually arching branches; bark of second-year wood brown or purplish brown. Leaves sessile, acute, about 1⁄10 in. long, with colourless margins, not much widened at the base. Racemes 1 to 2 in. long and a little less than 1⁄4 in. wide, borne on the wood of the previous season; bracts slightly longer than the pedicels, green at the base, the upper part translucent and more or less stained with purple. Petals light rosy pink, spreading, about one-twelfth of an inch long. Stamens four, inserted on the lobes of the disk and separated by shallow sinuses; anthers pink.
Native of the Aegean and the Balkans, possibly of N. Africa. From all other cultivated species except the rare T. tetrandra it is distinct in flowering from the old wood and in having flowers with four stamens. It is a shrub of great beauty and grace, admirable in masses.
In the commonly cultivated form of T. parviflora the racemes are densely flowered and also densely arranged on the branches; they are mostly up to 11⁄2 in. long, a few to 2 in. In another form, grown as T. tetrandra, they are longer, laxer and rather more widely spaced.
T. parviflora does not inhabit saline soils in the wild and has become naturalised in some parts of S. Europe outside its natural range, and in N. America.
T. tetrandra Pall. – Like the preceding, this flowers on the previous year’s wood and the flowers have normally four petals and stamens (sometimes five petals and five antesepalous stamens and sometimes with a few extra stamens opposite the petals). The bark is black. The racemes are somewhat longer and broader than in T. parviflora and the bracts are green except at the apex. Petals 1⁄8 in. long, so somewhat longer than in T. parviflora. Antesepalous stamens inserted between the lobes of the disk, which is fleshier and more conspicuous than in T. parviflora (Baum, Monographic Revision and Flora Europaea). Native of the eastern Balkans, Asia Minor and southern Russia (including the Crimea). It is uncertain whether the true species is in cultivation.