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A deciduous or semi-evergreen bush 3 to 6 ft high (occasionally in a wild state a small tree); young shoots and leaves quite glabrous. Leaves of stout leathery texture, narrowly oval or obovate, entire, sharply pointed, tapered at the base, 2 to 4 in. long, 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. wide, reddish when unfolding, changing to dark bright green, and very much net-veined; stalk 1⁄4 to 3⁄4 in. long. Flowers nodding, produced (often in clusters of five) in the axils of large pink bracts in spring, each on a pink stalk 1⁄2 to 1 in. long. Corolla bell-shaped, pink, 3⁄8 to 1⁄2 in. long, with five reflexed shallow lobes of paler hue and five nectaries at the base. Calyx-lobes varying from shallowly to slenderly triangular, minutely ciliate. Fruit a dry capsule, erect, egg-shaped, 3⁄8 in. long, strongly ribbed. Bot. Mag., t. 1649.
Native of China, including Hong Kong; first flowered in Knight’s Royal Exotic Nursery at Chelsea (afterwards Veitch’s) in 1814. It is too tender for any but the mildest parts of the British Isles and requires the protection of a cool greenhouse at Kew. It is unsurpassed among enkianthuses in the size and beauty of the individual flowers and the clusters with their attendant pink bracts give a charming effect.