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A half-woody, deciduous plant, with erect, hollow stems, 4 or 5 ft sometimes much more high, covered with glaucous bloom, glabrous, very leafy. Leaves, opposite, ovate, heart-shaped at the base, with long tapered points, varying in size according to the vigour of the shoot from 2 to 7 in. long, about half as wide„ entire or with small teeth, deep green above, greyish and slightly downy when young beneath; stalk 1⁄4 to 1 in. long. Flower-spikes produced from June to September, either at the end of the shoot or in the uppermost leaf-axils, 1 to 4 in. long. Flowers stalkless, arranged in tiers, each tier supported by handsome claret-coloured bracts of the same shape as the leaves and from 1⁄2 to 11⁄2 in. long, which persist until the fruit is ripe. Corolla 3⁄4 in. long and wide, funnel-shaped, five-lobed, purplish, slightly hairy; calyx one-third the length of the corolla, with five erect, awl-shaped, hairy lobes. Berry like a small gooseberry, reddish purple, glandular-downy, about 1⁄2 in. long, many-seeded, surmounted by the persistent sepals; ripe in October. Bot. Mag., t. 3699.
Native of the Himalaya in shady forests, and of W. China and E. Tibet; introduced in 1824. This handsome shrub likes a rich soil, and, in spite of its natural habitats, a sunny spot. The bracts and fruits colour better under a full exposure. Birds, especially pheasants, are very fond of the berries, for which reason it is sometimes planted as covert. It should be propagated by seed, which ripens in such abundance and germinates so freely that an enormous stock can soon be raised.