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A much-branched shrub up to 3 ft high, the shoots densely covered with down amidst which are numerous white outstanding hairs. Leaves stalkless, ovate-oblong, blunt at the apex, three-nerved and rounded at the base; 1 to 21⁄2 in. long, 1⁄4 to 3⁄4 in. wide; very hairy, the hairs on the upper surface and at the margins long, whitish, simple; those beneath short, starry. Flowers 11⁄2 in. diameter, white, with a yellow stain near the base of each petal; produced in a terminal cymose cluster. Sepals five, outer ones heart-shaped, 3⁄4 in. long, with a broad base 1⁄2 in. wide, and a tapered point; inner ones ovate, smaller, all shaggy with white hairs.
Native of Spain and Portugal (it is not a native of France but has become naturalised there in Britanny near Landerneau); introduced about the middle of the seventeenth century. An almost hardy species, only injured in exceptionally severe winters. With C. salviifolius and C. populifolius it forms the group Ledonia, characterised by large, heart-shaped outer sepals. It is distinguished from the other two by its stalkless leaves.
This is indeed the species that Lamarck named C. hirsutus in 1786, but eight years earlier he had applied the same name to a different species. The name used in Flora Europaea for C. hirsuta Lam. (1786) is C. psilosepalus Sweet.
C. psilosepalus Sweet