Tree to 13 m. Bark dark grey to white. Branchlets black-brown, densely pubescent and pendulous. Leaves deciduous, 6–12 × 1.7–5 cm, primarily lanceolate, upper surface glabrous, lower surface with tufts of hair in the axils of veins, 11–13 secondary veins on each side of the midvein, margins irregularly double-serrate with mucronate tips, apex caudate to acuminate; petiole densely pubescent, 0.4–0.7 cm long. Monoecious; staminate inflorescences catkin-like; pistillate inflorescences catkin-like, pedunculate, 0.8–1 cm long, glabrous. Flowers inconspicuous; bracts loosely imbricate, with three to five veins, three-lobed, 2.5–3 × 0.7–0.8 cm. Fruit a nutlet with yellow resin and longitudinal ribs. Flowering April to June, fruiting July to August (China). Rushforth 1985, Li & Skvortsov 1999. Distribution CHINA: southern Anhui, Fujian, northern Guangdong, Guangxi, southeast Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi, south central Sichuan, southern Yunnan, Zhejiang; LAOS; MYANMAR : southeast; THAILAND: north; VIETNAM: north. Habitat Subtropical and montane forests between 300 and 1800 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 9(–10). Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration Li & Skvortsov 1999, Hudson 2004.
This southern species is extremely rare in cultivation and no living specimens have been traced in the northern hemisphere, although it is established in New Zealand. Specimens planted at Wakehurst Place and at Tregrehan did not survive for long. It has been described as a very ornamental tree for a sheltered position, and praised for its attractive pink and red-tinted new growth (Hudson 2004). The Wakehurst plant was cut to the ground each winter, however, and was removed to make way for something more rewarding (Kew records).