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An evergreen shrub up to 12 ft high, sometimes a small tree; young shoots greyish, minutely downy. Leaves lance-shaped inclined to oblong, wedge-shaped at the base, more or less slender-pointed, sharply toothed to almost entire, 11⁄2 to 31⁄2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. wide, dark glossy green above, paler and minutely dotted beneath; stalk 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 in. long. Flowers white, fragrant, produced in axillary clusters of up to as many as eight; corolla 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 in. wide, with four roundish-ovate, spreading lobes and a tube 1⁄4 in. long; calyx bell-shaped, four-lobed, the lobes edged with minute hairs; flower-stalk 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 in. long, minutely downy. Fruits roundish egg-shaped, 2⁄5 in. long, bluish black. Bot. Mag., t. 9176.
Native of the Himalaya from Sikkim to Assam and thence eastward to south-western most Yunnan, China; discovered by Griffith in 1838, but little known until Forrest sent seeds from Yunnan.
O. suavis is hardy south of London in a sheltered position but is more effective in the milder parts of the country. The flowering branch figured in the Botanical Magazine came from Headfort in Eire, where the species flowers in midwinter, though spring is the normal time.
An examination of a full range of specimens of this species and O. delavayi shows that in all characters the two converge, but the plants in cultivation are quite distinct.