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An evergreen shrub 8 to 12 ft high; young shoots at first covered with a dense white down which turns yellowish and falls away by winter, leaving them bare and reddish. Leaves obovate or broadly oval, usually pointed, sometimes rounded at the apex, always tapering at the base to a stalk which is 1⁄4 in. or less long; 11⁄4 to 21⁄4 in. long, 3⁄4 to 11⁄4 in. wide; dark green above, clothed beneath with thick white down which becomes yellowish with age but persists largely until the fall of the leaf; veins in six to nine pairs, very prominent. Flowers produced in corymbs 2 to 3 in. wide during late June and July, milky white. Fruits egg-shaped, 3⁄16 in. long, 1⁄8 in. wide, red, with the downy calyx persisting at the top. Bot. Mag., t. 9454.
Native of Yunnan, China; introduced by Forrest in 1913, under his No. 10419. It had previously been discovered by the Abbe Delavay. A plant raised from Forrest’s seed bore a fine crop of fruits at Glasnevin in 1921, by which time it was 6 ft high and gave a fine effect. The species still flourishes in that garden and has been used to make a dense hedge 10 ft high. It belongs to the same group as henryanus and salicifolius, but the leaves are considerably broader in proportion to their length than they are in those two species. From C. glaucophyllus, another near ally, it differs in the stronger veining of the leaves, whose undersides are also more persistently downy than they are in any of the forms of that species. Some plants grown as C. lacteus may be C. glaucophyllus f. serotinus. It is a quite handsome shrub and a vigorous grower, but rather late in colouring its fruits.