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A deciduous shrub to 12 ft high on a wall, with glabrous four-angled stems. Leaves 4 to 8 in. long, ovate, tapered at the apex, pale green and almost glabrous beneath, margins almost untoothed. Flowers tubular, deep violet to lilac, about 3⁄4 in. long and 1⁄3 in. wide at the mouth, covered on the outside with fine, short hairs; they are borne in July and August in terminal racemes 2 to 8 in. long.
A native of China, where it inhabits the hills and lower mountain slopes; introduced by Fortune in 1843 from a garden on the island of Chusan. Although somewhat tender it has grown well in many south-western gardens and attained a height of 12 ft in the Bath Botanic Garden. In the size and colouring of the individual flowers this is one of the most handsome of the genus, but so few are open at one time that it makes little display.
Wilson introduced var. sinuatodentata Hemsl., in which the leaves are wavy-toothed and more acuminate than in the type. An old plant from his seed has lived outdoors at the Glasnevin Botanic Garden for more than half a century.