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A small tree with one or more erect stems giving off at intervals whorls of branches, and rarely seen more than 10 to 20 ft high in cultivation; branchlets forked. Leaves spreading in two opposite ranks, often almost horizontally, 2 to 31⁄2 in. long, 1⁄8 in. or a little more wide; linear, tapering to a fine point, rich glossy green above, with two pale bands beneath, each composed of about twenty stomatic lines, and a green raised midrib. Male flowers in globose heads 1⁄4 in. across. Fruit 11⁄8 in. long, 3⁄4 in. wide, oval, brown. Bot. Mag., t. 4499.
Native of N. China; introduced by Robert Fortune in 1849. There is some difficulty in properly differentiating this from C. harringtonia, but it would seem to have longer, comparatively more slender leaves, farther apart on the branchlet, and with finer, longer points. The lines of stomata beneath are more numerous; the male flower-heads solitary or few on a stalk. Specimens gathered from the plants raised from Fortune’s seed have more slender and less divided branchlets than C. harringtonia. I am inclined to think many of the so-called C. fortunei of the present day are really the other species. The true thing is a handsome and striking evergreen. The plants distributed in the last century as C. “fortuni foemina” are C. harringtonia var. sinensis.
† cv. ‘Prostrata’ (‘Prostrate Spreader’). – A wide-spreading, almost prostrate shrub, useful as ground-cover in shade, which arose with Messrs Hillier from a side-cutting, before 1914.