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A deciduous or partially evergreen bush 6 or 8 ft high in the open, 12 ft or more against a wall; the bark of the stem and older branches peeling; young shoots warted and bristly. Leaves oblong-lanceolate, 2 to 41⁄2 in. long, 3⁄4 to 2 in. wide, rounded or broadly wedge-shaped at the base, slenderly pointed, prominently veined beneath, bristly on the margins and on both sides of the midrib, also more or less over the surface; stalk bristly, 1⁄8 in. long. Flowers produced from November to March (according to the mildness of the season), often in two pairs at each joint; flower-stalk has downward pointing bristles. The flowers are creamy white, very fragrant, about 1⁄2 in. wide, the tube of the corolla bristly outside. Fruits ripe in early June, red, the two ovaries united nearly to the top and forming an inversely heart-shaped berry; stalk 1⁄2 in. long, bristly. Bot. Mag., t. 5709.
Native of China; introduced by Fortune in 1845. It is in no way showy, but has always been a favourite because of the early date at which it flowers and for its charming fragrance. Although the first flowers come as early as November, it is usually at its best in February. It is perfectly hardy, and is only grown on walls for the sake of protection for its early flowers.