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An evergreen shrub 1 to 3 ft high; young shoots round, densely bristly. Leaves ovate to oval, tapered to both ends; finely and regularly toothed, 1⁄2 to 1 in. long, 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 in. wide, nearly or quite glabrous above, downy beneath especially on the midrib. Flowers produced in a cluster of racemes during May and June from the terminal leaf-axils; racemes 1 to 2 in. long, downy; corolla urn-shaped, white to rosy red, 1⁄6 to 1⁄4 in. long, with five small reflexed teeth at the mouth; calyx-lobes ciliate. Fruits black, globose, 3⁄16 in. wide.
Native of W. China; described from specimens collected by Père Delavay in Yunnan, where it reaches to above the tree-line. Wilson collected it in fruit in W. Szechwan during his first expedition for the Arnold Arboretum, but apparently it was first introduced to this country by Forrest, according to whom the fruits in their season are the principal food of the common pheasant of Yunnan. According to the field notes of its various collectors the colour of the flowers in wild plants varies from white to salmon red. The beauty of the inflorescence is heightened by the red bracts on the raceme. Lionel de Rothschild grew this species at Exbury and thought highly of it as a dwarf evergreen, but it never became fully established in gardens and is now rare.