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A deciduous tree 40 ft or more high; young shoots clothed with a velvety down. Leaves up to 10 in. long, composed of seven to eleven leaflets, which are very shortly stalked, oblong-lanceolate with a long tapered point, obliquely rounded at the base, entire, 2 to 4 in. long, 1 to 11⁄2 in. wide, dull green and downy above, paler and clothed beneath with a soft velvety down, especially on the midrib and the nine to thirteen pairs of veins. Flowers small and very numerous, yellowish white, produced in August in a cluster of compound umbels from the end of the current year’s shoots and from the uppermost leaf-axils. These flower clusters are 6 to 7 in. wide and high, the stalks velvety like the young shoots. The individual flower is about 1⁄8 in. wide; petals narrow oblong; calyx, ovary, and the very short thick stalk downy. Fruit purplish brown, hairy, 1⁄5 in. wide, with a minute beak. Seeds shining black.
Native of W. Szechwan, China; discovered and introduced in 1908 by Wilson (No. 994). It is very distinct in the soft velvety down of the various parts. So far as I know, it first flowered with the late C. J. Lucas of Warnham Court, Sussex, who gave me a flowering shoot in August 1918. It is quite hardy at Kew.
E. henryi Dode – Leaves 6 to 12 in. long. Leaflets five to nine, ovate to ovate-lanceolate, slender-pointed, tapered or rounded at the base, shallowly notched on the margin; 2 to 4 in. long, about half as wide, becoming quite glabrous on both sides, pale and rather glaucous beneath; stalk about 1⁄4 in. long. Introduced from Hupeh in 1908 by Wilson (No. 324). It is allied to E. velutina but distinguished by the beaked fruit, the almost glabrous leaves and the small pyramidal inflorescence.
specimens: St James’s Park, London, 60 × 43⁄4 ft (1981); Witham Hall, Lincs., 60 × 43⁄4 ft (1983); National Botanic Garden, Glasnevin, Eire, 52 × 43⁄4 ft (1974).
E. henryi – The specimens at Kew, pl. 1938, measure 28 × 21⁄2 ft and 30 × 13⁄4 ft (1981).