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An evergreen shrub or small tree 8 to 15 ft high; young shoots stiff, at first clothed with minute down, turning greyish white by autumn, slightly warted. Leaves very leathery, oblong-lanceolate, 3 to 6 in. or even more long on young specimens, 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. wide, abruptly narrowed to the rounded or slightly heart-shaped base, taper-pointed, coarsely toothed, with up to about ten teeth per side, the teeth triangular, 1⁄8 to 1⁄3 in. long, and with spiny points, or entire, dark dull green, prominently net-veined and quite glabrous, minutely dotted beneath; stalk 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 in. long, reddish. Flowers produced during autumn in clusters in the leaf-axils, creamy white, 1⁄4 in. in diameter, fragrant; each on a slender glabrous stalk 1⁄4 in. long. Fruits dark violet, egg-shaped, 3⁄4 in. long. Bot. Mag., t. 9232.
Native of W. China; introduced for Messrs Veitch by Wilson in 1902, and strikingly distinct in the length of the leaf from the other hardy species. Although the spine-tipped teeth are a prominent feature of the leaves of young plants, they are often quite absent in adult specimens. According to Wilson, it grows on humus-clad cliffs and boulders, either in dense shade or fully exposed to sunshine.