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A shrub apparently 6 to 8 ft high, producing long, slender, hollow young shoots thinly furnished with glandular hairs. Leaves 2 to 6 in. long, 1 to 23⁄4 in. wide, ovate, slenderly pointed, rounded at the base, sparsely toothed, rich dull green above, rather glaucous, minutely downy and conspicuously net-veined beneath, margins slightly hairy; stalk about 1⁄8 in. long. Each joint of the stem is furnished with a pair of conspicuously large, kidney-shaped, interpetiolar stipules 1⁄4 to 3⁄4 in. wide, each stipule being adnate for a short distance to the petiole on either side. Inflorescence an arching terminal raceme 5 to 7 in. long on which the flowers are closely arranged in whorls of six, the whorls set about 1 in. apart. Corolla rich yellow, 3⁄4 in. long and as much wide, five-lobed, the base tubular, hairy outside. Calyx green, five-lobed, 3⁄8 in. wide; ovary ovoid, 1⁄4 in. long, covered with sticky glandular hairs. Fruit 5⁄8 in. long, globose-ovoid, very like a small gooseberry, with the calyx adhering at the top. Bot. Mag., t. 9422.
Native of the Delei Valley, Assam, at 6,000 ft altitude; discovered and introduced by Kingdon Ward in 1928. He describes it as a ‘small lax shrub growing on steep sheltered gneiss face, in dense thickets’. Seeds were originally distributed under the name ‘Golden Abelia’, No. 8180. In Col. Stern’s chalk-pit garden at Highdown, near Worthing, a very sunny spot, it flowered abundantly in early June, 1934, but did not prove hardy there. At Kew it was promptly killed the first winter it was put in the open air. Except in the mildest parts it must be treated as a shrub for the cool greenhouse and as such was given an Award of Merit when shown by Maurice Mason on 30 May 1960.
In Plant Hunting on the Edge of the World, Kingdon Ward gave the following account of the discovery of L. crocothyrsos.
On May 8th we started again up the valley, our object being to camp near the pass, not more than three days’ march, as we reckoned it. The river above Watersmeet was a roaring torrent; we were still high above it, but could often see it thundering through the gorge below. As for the path, it was a mere ledge high up on the rock face, with terrifying cliffs where we had to climb down shaky ladders forty or fifty feet high, holding on to roots and creepers. On the cliff, which was overgrown with shrubs, I found the golden Leycesteria, a solitary plant with long hanging racemes of golden-yellow flowers, and large auricled stipules at the base of the leaves.