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An evergreen prostrate shrub 3 ft or more wide, forming a dense mass of branches only 5 or 6 in. high; young shoots clothed with silky hairs. Leaves obovate or oval, rounded or slightly pointed at the apex, tapering to a very short stalk, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 in. wide on flowering shoots, sometimes twice as long and wide on barren shoots, dull dark green with appressed silky hairs above, completely covered with whitish silky hairs beneath. Flowers blue, opening successively in May and June on flattish curving racemes 1 in. or more long, of the type common to the borage family, five to seven flowers on each raceme. Corolla 3⁄4 in. long, 3⁄8 in. wide, hairy outside, glabrous inside, slenderly tubular at the base, more bell-shaped towards the top, with five rounded, slightly notched lobes there. Calyx five-lobed, the lobes narrowly linear, 1⁄4 in. long. Stamens five, hidden in the corolla. Style shorter than the corolla (but see further below).
Native of Spain; discovered on the eastern Pyrenees in 1814, growing in crevices of rocks. No one probably in this country succeeded so well in cultivating this rare and beautiful shrub as Miss Willmott, who grew it in her rock garden at Warley, in Essex, for over thirty years. She recommended for it a dry, well-drained position, with some old mortar rubble about the roots, and that it should be protected from excessive moisture. It can be propagated by cuttings and by division in the absence of seeds.
This species has two types of flower. In one the calyx is as long as the corolla-tube, the stamens are almost sessile at the top of the corolla-tube, and the style is long, exceeding the corolla-tube. In the other type, the calyx is much shorter than the corolla-tube, the anthers are borne above the tube on well-developed filaments, and the style is short and included in the tube. Both types are figured in the Botanical Magazine, the long-styled at t. 8994 and the short-styled at t. 9559.