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Shrub or small tree to 12 m. Branchlets dark or reddish brown with silky hairs. Leaves deciduous, alternate, 6–11 × 5–9 cm, ovate to elliptic or orbicular, immature leaves with a dense covering of golden silky hairs, mature leaves upper surface green and glabrous, lower surface with golden silky hairs fringing the veins, triplinerved, margins entire, apex obtuse to acute; petiole 1.5–3.5 cm long. Inflorescences subsessile and axillary, produced just below the newly expanding leaves, umbels usually clustered with 4–14 flowers, pedicels with long, dense golden hairs. Flowers pale yellow and fragrant, opening as the leaves unfold. Fruit ellipsoid, to 0.8 × 0.6 cm. Flowering in spring, fruiting in August (China). Grierson & Long 1978, Long 1984. Distribution CHINA: Xizang, Yunnan; INDIA: Assam; MYANMAR. Habitat Forest. USDA Hardiness Zone 8. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration NT450. Cross-reference S308. Bean (B579) and Krüssmann (K223) describe the confused taxon L. cercidifolia.
A brief description and historical note on this taxon was given by Clarke (1988), discussing its long-term confusion with Lindera obtusiloba and the name L. cercidifolia, as well as with L. heterophylla, and its original introduction by George Forrest (probably as F 29087). Bean (1981a) described it as L. cercidifolia, noting its RHS Award of Merit in 1952 for its flowers, and recording that a tree at Exbury was 8 m tall in 1964. These endorsements have not, however, made it a widely grown plant: on the contrary, it seems to be extremely rare and in urgent need of propagation. The only recent record traced is of an 8 m tree at Westonbirt, measured in 2002 (TROBI). This is a multistemmed specimen with a spread of about 3 m, flowering profusely in late March on naked twigs (H. Angus, pers. comm. 2007). Lindera praetermissa may still be grown elsewhere as well, under one of its pseudonyms.