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An elegant, deciduous (sometimes partially evergreen) shrub 3 to 4 ft high, of spreading habit, and usually more in diameter; branches comparatively thin, reddish brown, slightly downy, armed with slender three-parted spines, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, and red when young. Leaves as a rule less than 1 in. long, mostly oblanceolate, and either rounded or sharply pointed at the apex, otherwise entire, or occasionally three-lobed at the apex; glabrous, conspicuously veined, grey-green above, somewhat glaucous beneath. Flowers small, pale yellow, borne two to six together in fascicles or short racemes. Berries roundish, coral- or salmon-red, somewhat translucent, borne very abundantly. Bot. Mag., t. 8414.
Native of W. China; discovered and introduced about 1904 by E. H. Wilson, after whose wife it was named. This is one of the most charming introductions from W. China, of neat yet elegant habit, and most noteworthy for its prettily coloured, abundant berries and autumnal tints.
B. wilsoniae and its allies have contributed to the complex swarm of hybrids discussed under B. × carminea and B. × rubrostilla. Two seedlings which are near to the species in their botanical characters may be mentioned here. They are ‘Comet’, exceptionally profuse in berry, and the dwarf ‘Tom Thumb’, which makes a charming rock garden shrub, with vivid autumn foliage.
The true species has become rare, but was reintroduced by Roy Lancaster from the hills above Kunming in Yunnan in 1980. The plants made low mounds or hummocks, and the seedlings raised promise to be of similar habit. In this respect at least they agree with var. favosa (W. W. Sm.) Ahrendt, which was described from a flowering specimen collected by Kingdon Ward on the border between Burma and Yunnan in 1914, and not introduced. It is interesting that both the var. favosa and the Kunming plants were growing on limestone rock.
B. stapfiana Schneid
B. subcaulialata Schneid