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A deciduous shrub 6 to 12 ft high; young shoots minutely appressed-downy, green or purplish. Leaves oval, 11⁄2 to 31⁄2 in. long, about half as wide; sharply narrowed at the apex to a short point, tapered at the base, appressed-downy on both surfaces; veins in three or four pairs; stalk 1⁄2 in. or less long. Flowers white, in dense terminal clusters about 2 in. across; style club-shaped, as long as the stamens but shorter than the petals. Fruits 1⁄4 in. wide.
Native of W. Asia, in cultivation since 1915. It is very hardy, but its only claim to special notice is in its autumnal red foliage.
This species is closely allied to the mainly European C. sanguinea, and has been placed under it as a subspecies – subsp. australis (C. A. Mey.) Javorka – differing in having the hairs attached at their mid-point, not at the end as in the typical subspecies.
† C. koenigii Schneid. – This native of the Caucasus, in cultivation at Kew, is also allied to C. sanguinea, but is more distinct from it, having leaves 4 to 5 in. long with five or six pairs of veins. Camillo Schneider not only described this species, but was the first to observe it growing wild while botanising near Batumi in 1908, and introduced it. It is named after his companion on that journey. Wangerin, the authority on Cornus, was inclined to dismiss it as a large-leaved mutant of C. australis, but it is now accepted as a good species.