A strong-growing deciduous shrub, said by Wilson to attain a height of 12 ft in a wild state; branches erect, soon quite glabrous. Leaves narrow lanceolate, with a long tapered point and wedge-shaped base; 4 to 9 in. long, 1⁄2 to 21⁄2 in. wide, toothed, dark green, and soon becoming glabrous above; covered beneath with a close, fine, silvery grey felt. Flowers fragrant, lilac (not white), with orange-coloured centres, produced from July onwards in slender, tapering panicles 8 to 18 in. long, 2 in. wide at the base, terminating the main shoots, with smaller ones on lateral shoots. Corolla-tube 1⁄4 in. long; persisting as in other species until burst off by the swelling seed-vessel beneath it. Calyx glabrous, bell-shaped, with pointed narrow lobes.
Native of China; discovered by Henry, and introduced in 1900 by Wilson, who observes that it is fairly common on the shrub-clad mountains of Central China at 3,000 to 6,000 ft altitude. With the general aspect of B. davidii, it is not so good a shrub; the branchlets are not so square, the leaves are more distinctly stalked and the calyx differs in being glabrous.
B. hemsleyana Koehne, is no more than an inferior form of B. albiflora. It is only worth growing in collections. The flowers have not the orange-coloured eye seen in those of albiflora or davidii.