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A distinct group of about ten species of deciduous shrubs and small trees, native of N.E. Asia. In habit they are marked by the branches and leaves being in whorls, which give to some species a peculiar tabulated appearance. The flowers are in pendulous umbels or racemes; the corolla either bell-shaped or pitcher-shaped, with five small lobes. Calyx five-lobed, and persistent on the seed-vessel. Stamens ten, not so long as the corolla.
These shrubs like a moist soil, with which decayed leaves and some peat have been mixed. Like so many of their family, they dislike lime. Their general treatment is the same as for the hardy azaleas, and they have a similar dislike of heavy shade. In flower they are pretty and interesting, but their great beauty comes in autumn, when the leaves turn to various brilliant shades of red and yellow. They are best propagated from seed treated in the same way as recommended for rhododendrons. Cuttings may also be rooted.