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A low evergreen shrub 1 ft or rather more high, its erect clustered stems covered with dark, minute down when young. Leaves clustered in one or two whorls near the top of the stem; oval, 11⁄2 to 31⁄2 in. long, 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. wide; tapered at both ends, sharply toothed; bright dark green, and nearly or quite glabrous; stalks 1⁄4 in. long, minutely downy. Flowers white, 1⁄2 in. across, star-shaped, with five narrow, ovate, pointed petals; the flowers occur singly or in twos or threes on short, downy stalks 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, in the leaf-axils. They appear in August and September, and are followed by red (in one form white), globular berries, 1⁄4 in. in diameter.
Native of China and Japan, and the only member of a large genus grown outside in this country. Its beauty is in the glossy foliage and bright fruits. It is suitable for the rock garden, in the south and west of England or Ireland, but is not wholly hardy at Kew. It first flowered in Knight’s nursery at Chelsea in 1834.