An evergreen shrub of bushy shape up to 6 or 8 ft high (perhaps more); young shoots downy. Leaves oval-lanceolate, tapered to both ends, shallowly toothed, 11⁄2 to 2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. wide, glossy blackish green, glabrous except on the midrib and short stalk. Flowers solitary, terminal, 1 to 11⁄2 in. across, opening in midwinter; petals numerous, soft rose-coloured; bracts very finely downy in the centre. Bot. Mag., t. 2080; Bot. Reg., t. 547.
The habitat of the plant from which this charming evergreen originated does not seem to be known, but it is no doubt Chinese. It is an excellent evergreen for a wall, even one partially shaded, where its flowers often open during the mild period that frequently precedes Christmas. It is easily recognised by its thin leaves and completely double flowers on short pedicels covered by bracteoles which grade into the sepals, and like them are green often with a red margin. The flowers fall off as a whole.
C. rosiflora Hook. – Also unknown in a wild state and probably obtained originally from a Chinese nursery. It is closely allied to C. maliflora but has single rose-coloured flowers and thicker larger leaves 14⁄5 to 31⁄5 in. long, 4⁄5 to 1 in. wide and rather widely serrulate. Bot. Mag., t. 5044. It was originally introduced into this country before 1858 and certainly persisted until 1900 and probably longer, but it seems to have been lost by 1935. It was re-introduced from Ceylon in 1956.
From the Supplement (Vol. V)
C. rosiflora – According to Chang (op. cit., pp. 188-9) this occurs wild in various parts of China.