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A climbing shrub which Wilson found up to 26 ft high, the younger shoots usually covered with a thick covering of brown bristles. Leaves oblong-lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, pointed, rounded or tapered at the base, the margin thinly bristle-toothed; varying in size from 2 in. long by 1 in. wide to 5 in. long by 23⁄4 in. wide; bristly on the midrib above and beneath, also glaucous and downy beneath; stalk up to 11⁄4 in. long, bristly like the young wood. Flowers produced in June in the leaf-axils three to six together in short slender-stalked cymes; white, 1⁄3 in. wide, with five rounded oblong petals and five shorter ciliate sepals. Fruit a red, globose berry 1⁄3 in. wide, the calyx persisting at the base.
Native of W. China; introduced in 1908. This climber is hardy at Kew on a wall or sheltered by bushes. It was originally called “Clethra scandens” by Franchet in 1887 – a strange aberration. To indicate its distinctness from clethras as previously known, he made for it a new section in the genus called Clematoclethra. This sectional name was afterwards adopted as the generic one by Maximowicz. It has of course no botanical relationship with either Clethra or Clematis.