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A deciduous or partially evergreen shrub up to 12 or 20 ft high, forming a large rounded bush, the young shoots covered with a close scurf which, seen under the lens, is found to be minute stellate down. Leaves ovate, occasionally oval or oblong, rounded at the base, rounded or pointed at the apex, 2 to 4 in. long, 11⁄4 to 21⁄2 in. wide, dull green, and with scattered hairs above, covered with stellate down beneath; stalk 1⁄3 to 3⁄4 in. long. Flowers pure white, all sterile, 1 to 11⁄4 in. across, forming a huge, globular truss 3 to 6 in. wide opening in May.
This is Fortune’s type and was introduced by him from China in 1844. Being perfectly sterile, it has, of course, no place in nature, and is a purely garden plant, once distinguished as V. macrocephalum sterile but under modern rules should strictly be f. macrocephalum. It is the most striking, if not the most beautiful of viburnums, its truss exceeding in bulk that of any other species. Near London, it lives in a sheltered spot in the open, but is better on a wall, where a well grown plant makes a very fine display in May. Fortune saw it 20 ft high on the island of Chusan.
V. keteleeri Carr.
V. arborescens Hemsl