A shrub of bushy habit, 6 ft or more high. Leaves 3 to 5 in. long, ovate or oval, acute or often acuminate; dark glossy green, and rough above, glaucous and slightly downy beneath. Flowers with little or no scent, 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 in. diameter, the strap-shaped sepals and petals chocolate-purple.
Native of the south-eastern United States, covering some of the same area as C. floridus, with which species it has been much confused. It was brought to England in 1806. The leaves of this species do not possess the aromatic odour so characteristic of the West American species, and the wood is only slightly fragrant. Summer leaf-buds concealed by base of leaf-stalk.
var. laevigatus (Willd.) Bean C. laevigatus Willd. – This shrub, by some considered a distinct species, chiefly differs from typical C. fertilis by the leaves being shining green and not downy beneath. Several intermediate forms exist.
cv. 'Nanus'. – A dwarf form with smaller leaves, which are green, not glaucous beneath.
From the Supplement (Vol. V)
It is doubtful whether this is any more than a variety of C. floridus with less pubescent twigs, leaves and petioles. If K. A. Nicely's treatment is to be followed (Castanea, Vol. 30, pp. 38-81 (1965)), its correct name according to the Code of Botanical Nomenclature now in force (1983) would appear to be C. floridus var. glaucus (Willd.) Torrey & Gray (syns, C. glaucus Willd.; C. laevigatus Willd.; C. inodorus Elliott; and varieties based on these names).