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A deciduous or, in mild winters, nearly evergreen shrub, 12 to 20 ft high, occasionally taking the form of a small tree, of dense habit, rounded or flat-topped; twigs covered with a short, dense, brownish down. Leaves pale green, thin, elliptic, elliptic-oblong, or lanceolate, 1 to 3 in. long, 1⁄2 to 1 in. broad, tapering at the base, acute to bluntish at the apex, downy on the midrib beneath; stalk 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 in. long. Flowers white, produced in July in numerous downy panicles, 3 or 4 in. long, 11⁄2 to 2 in. wide. Fruits globose, black-purple, about 1⁄6 in. diameter, remaining on the branches until after the New Year.
Native of China; introduced by Fortune about 1852. I consider this the best and most ornamental of deciduous privets. It bears immense feathery masses of blossom in July, and they are usually followed by a wealth of dark purple fruits about the size of large shot, which make the shrub interesting through the winter. It is never seriously injured by cold, although in hard winters the twigs are occasionally cut back. Still, a sheltered position for it is preferable to one bleak and exposed, as it grows and flowers better then. It is now naturalised in parts of Australia and of the USA.
L. stauntonii DC