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A shrub of speading habit 6 to 8 ft high; young shoots more or less covered at first with loose down. Leaves rough to the touch, roundish ovate, with a heart-shaped or rounded base, and an abrupt, slender point, 3 to 7 in. long, one- half as much or more wide, sharply and prominently toothed, both surfaces, but especially the lower one, covered with short bristles; stalks slender, bristly when young, and from half to fully as long as the blade. Corymbs flattish, 4 to 6 in. across, the sterile flowers 3⁄4 to 13⁄4 in. across, white. Fertile flowers small, white; flower-stalks bristly. Seed-vessels roundish, glabrous, with the calyx at the top.
Native of Central and W. China; introduced by Wilson, for Messrs Veitch in 1901. It is a lax-habited shrub, with remarkably long-stalked leaves like those of H. petiolaris. It was first described by Franchet in 1885, and by a curious coincidence Hemsley described it again as a new species two years later, adopting the same name. It is rare in cultivation, but has long been grown at Borde Hill in Sussex, where it is hardy.
H. robusta Hook. f. & Thoms. H. rosthornii Diels; H. aspera subsp. robusta (Hook. f. & Thoms.) McClintock – This species is closely allied to H. longipes but has larger and thicker leaves more densely strigose beneath. It ranges from the Himalaya to western China, whence Wilson sent seeds during his expedition for the Arnold Arboretum. Whether the species is still in cultivation is not known. Plants seen under the synonymous name H. rosthornii are a fine form of H. aspera (villosa); a hydrangea distributed under the name H. robusta has proved to belong to H. heteromalla; and the garden plant figured in Bot. Mag., t. 5038, which has been confused with H. robusta, is H. stylosa, a species not treated in this work.