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Shrub to 1.5 m, branches with 2 hairy ridges when young. Leaves linear or oblanceolate or obovate 3.5–11 x 1.5–4.5 cm, apex acute or acuminate, base cuneate or rounded, margin shallowly serrate or serrate, upper surface glabrous, lower surface sparsely hairy, lateral veins 5–7, petiole absent or < 0.5 cm, hairy. Cymes axillary or terminal on previous year’s growth, 2– or 3–flowered, occasionally 1–flowered. Pedicel 1–2 cm long, bracts awl–shaped 5–10 mm long, hairy, bracteoles linear or awl–shaped, 0.3–0.8 cm, persistent.Calyx tube 5–lobed, bilaterally symmetric, linear or awl–shaped, upper 3 lobes 0.2–0.8 cm long, lower 2 lobes, 0.7 – 1.2 cm long, free half of length, 0.6–1.7 x ca 0.1 cm, hairy. Corolla funnel–shaped, 3–4 x 1–1.2 cm, gradually widening from the base, pale yellow, sparsely hair outside. Corolla tube 2.5–3.2 cm long, orange spotted, sparsely hairy inside, corolla 5–lobed, slightly bilaterally symmetric, ovate or oblong, upper 3 lobes 0.5–0.8 cm long, lower 2 lobes 0.8 – 1 cm long, (ca. 20–30% of length of corolla tube). Stamen as long as corolla, filaments 1–1.5 cm long, densely hairy towards base; anthers, fused, linear 0.6–0.7 cm, red brown. Style slightly longer than corolla, 2.5–3 cm long, glabrous, stigma cap–like, 2–4 mm diameter. Fruit cylindrical, tapering to a point, 1–3 cm long, dehiscing from apex, hairy. Seeds linear, 5–8 mm long, with wings at both ends.
Based on Iwatsuki, K. (ed) (1993)
Flowers May August
Fruits September to November
N Japan Sakhalin Ussir Amur Hokkiodo Honshu Kuriles
Distribution Japan Hokkiodo, north Honshu and southern Kuriles Russia Khabarovsk Krai, Amur Oblast, Primorsky Krai, Sakhalin
Habitat Forested mountain slopes and sub-alpine scrub exposed slopes, volcanic mountains. 20 - 1800 m
RHS Hardiness Rating H5
A shrub 3 to 5 ft high; young shoots glabrous except for two downy ridges. Leaves 2 or 3 in. long, 1 to 11⁄2 in. wide, ovate-lanceolate, toothed, wrinkled, slightly hairy on the margins and on the chief veins when young only; stalk 1⁄6 in. or less long. Flowers in terminal cymose clusters. Corolla bell-shaped, sulphur-yellow, stained with orange on the lower lobes, 11⁄4 in. long, 1 in. wide across the mouth, where are five spreading lobes. Calyx two-lipped, the upper lip with three narrow lobes, the lower one with two broader, deeper ones, all fringed with short bristles. Flowers in April and May. Bot. Mag., t. 7876.
Native of Japan, N. China, Korea and the Russian Far East; introduced to Europe in 1850. A beautiful shrub, very distinct in its yellow blossoms. But it suffers much from late spring frosts in some gardens.
It is the only species of the section Calyptrostigma. Apart from its yellow flowers, its distinctive characters are the two-lipped calyx, the hooded (calyptrate) stigma and the connate anthers.
Another yellow-flowered, anomalous species is W. maximowiczii (S. Moore) Rehd., which is similar to W. middendorffiana in most of its botanical characters, but inferior to it as an ornamental. Native of Japan.