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A deciduous shrub 4 to 6 ft high, with erect stems and spreading branches, making a rounded bush, wider than it is high; branchlets at first covered with fine down. Leaves alternate, ovate-oblong, 1 to 31⁄2 in. long, those of the barren shoots shallowly lobed, finely double-toothed; downy on the veins beneath; stalk up to 1⁄3 in. long, downy. Flowers produced in a cluster at the end of short leafy side-shoots in April and May. Each flower is borne on a slender, downy stalk 3⁄4 to 1 in. long; it has no petals, but a conspicuous bunch of white stamens 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. long, and a calyx about 3⁄4 in. across, with leaf-like, toothed lobes. Bot. Mag., t. 6806.
Native of Alabama, where, apparently, it is only known in one or two spots. It was found on the cliffs of Black Warrior River, at Tuscaloosa, in 1858, by the Rev. R. D. Nevius. It is quite hardy in England, and is easily increased by fairly soft cuttings placed in heat. Its beauty in some parts of N. America is so great that it has been called the ‘Alabama Snow-wreath’, owing to the snowy whiteness and profusion of its feathery blossom. But out-of-doors in England it is never really pure white but of a dull greenish white. Forced early into blossom under glass, its colour is much purer, and it is then very elegant and beautiful. In March 1907, about fifty years after its discovery, a letter was received at Kew from Mr Nevius, then at Tacoma, Washington, from which it appears that this shrub is not always a success in its native land. He says: ‘I have had it growing in many places in the open, but it does not do well. Even at Tuscaloosa, where I discovered it, a hedge I planted of it in the churchyard flowered but sparingly.’