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A deciduous shrub 10 to 12 ft (perhaps more) high, of rather spare habit; the branches few, long and arching, bark blackish brown covered with dark hairs when young. Leaves ovate or oblong; 11⁄2 to 31⁄2 in. long, about half as wide, pointed, dark green and slightly hairy above, paler and felted beneath with grey or yellowish down; between the veins the leaf-blade has a swollen (bullate) appearance; stalk 1⁄12 in. long. Flowers in corymbs of from ten to thirty; each corymb 1 to 2 in. across, borne on short leafy branches; stalks downy. Petals rosy white, soon falling; calyx hairy, with short triangular lobes. Fruit brilliant red, pear-shaped or round, 1⁄3 in. wide.
Native of W. China and Tibet; first cultivated in France about the year 1898, by Maurice de Vilmorin at Les Barres. It is undoubtedly one of the finest of the species introduced in this century. Of flower-beauty it has none, for it has rarely more than two or three flowers expanded on one cluster at a time, and the petals fall almost as soon as they open. But it is very handsome indeed in fruit, the clusters, many of them 2 in. across, being set on the shoot about 1 in. apart in opposite rows. Strictly the plant described above should be distinguished as C. bullatus f. floribundus (Stapf) Rehd. & Wils. (C. moupinensis f. floribundus Stapf, in Bot. Mag., t. 8284). The plant that Bois took as the type of the species was greatly inferior in garden value, having up to twelve flowers only in each inflorescence and smaller fruits.
C. bullatus may also be in cultivation from seed collected in S.E. Tibet by Ludlow, Sherriff and Taylor (who found it as a tree up to 25 ft high – LST 6441), and by Kingdon Ward (KW 10906).
† cv. ‘Firebird’. – Fruits unusually large, about 1⁄2 in. long, obovoid, orange-red. Raised in Holland from seeds received from the Royal Horticultural Society’s Garden at Wisley in 1950 (Dendroflora No. 3 (1966), p. 8).
C. rehderi Pojark