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A sturdy, evergreen bush up to 6 ft high in this country, with thick, glabrous young shoots. Leaves leathery, usually ovate (sometimes very broadly so), but also roundish, oval or obovate, 3 to 6 in. long, half to nearly as much wide, abruptly pointed or with a short, slender apex, the base entire and rounded or tapering, the terminal part remotely and shallowly toothed or merely wavy; both surfaces quite glabrous, the upper one dark glossy green, the lower one paler but with innumerable tiny dark dots; stalk 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. long. Flowers uniformly perfect, 3⁄8 in. wide, white, very fragrant, produced in rounded short-stalked, often seven-rayed cymes 3 to 41⁄2 in. across. Fruits round-oval, 1⁄3 in. long, red.
Native of Japan; probably first introduced by Maries in 1879. Richard Oldham, who collected it in Nagasaki in 1862, describes it as ‘a small tree on the hills,’ but it does not make more than a sturdy bush with us. It appears to be quite hardy at Kew, but grows slowly in the open, and is no doubt happier in a warmer climate. On a wall it makes a pleasing and striking evergreen. This species has been much confused in gardens with V. odoratissimum, but it may be distinguished in the following respects: The young wood is not so warted as in V. odoratissimum; the secondary veins run out to the margin of the leaf; the inflorescence is rounded and umbel-like rather than paniculate.