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An evergreen bush 6 ft high, of erect, rather slender habit when young; young shoots glabrous. Leaves glabrous, narrow to broad elliptic or lanceolate-elliptic, rounded or wedge-shaped at the base, tapered gradually to a long, slender apex; 11⁄8 to 31⁄3 in. long, 5⁄8 to 1 in. wide; finely and shallowly toothed (the teeth gland-tipped); polished, dark, sometimes purplish green above; paler and covered with minute dots beneath; stalks 1⁄8 to 1⁄6 in. long, hairy at the margins. Flowers solitary at the end of short twigs or in the leaf-axils; pure white, 11⁄2 in. across; pedicels 1⁄8 in. long with four bracteoles; calyx of five green triangular sepals 1⁄2 in. across. Stamens erect in a dense cluster, 5⁄8 in. long; anthers yellow. Bot. Mag., t. 9277.
Native of W. China; introduced by Wilson to Veitch’s Coombe Wood nursery in 1900. It is a bright-leaved hardy evergreen, with copper-tinted young leaves; it is not in the first rank as a flowering shrub, although quite pretty when well in flower. In cultivation it may reach a greater height than the 6 ft given in the description; Sir Giles Loder has it over 12 ft high at Leonardslee in Sussex, where it is quite hardy. There is a plant almost as large in the R.H.S. Garden at Wisley.
† C. ‘Cornish Spring’. – A hybrid between C. cuspidata and a pink-flowered single cultivar of C. japonica, raised by Miss Carlyon at Tregrehan, Cornwall (1972). The flowers are single, light pink, about 13⁄4 in. wide, opening in March or April.
† C. ‘Spring Festival’. – A seedling of C. cuspidata raised in California, with small, pink, almost fully double flowers in late spring. Very narrow habit. It needs full sun.
C. fraterna – This species has been used by hybridists, one result being ‘Tiny Princess’, with small, semi-double flowers, white shaded pink. USA, 1961.