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A deciduous shrub or small tree 10 to 20 ft high; young shoots usually densely clothed at first with tawny velvety down. Leaves oval, rounded or slightly heart-shaped at the base, shortly pointed at the apex, 4 to 10 in. long, nearly half as wide, dark glossy green above with a little rusty down on the midrib and veins, permanently downy beneath, the down on the veins rust-coloured; veins in about twelve to fifteen pairs; stalk 11⁄2 to 3 in. long. Flowers fragrant, slightly creamy white, rather globose, about 3 in. across, produced in June at the end of a leafy shoot, each on a stout slightly nodding stalk 2 in. or more long, which is covered thickly with a tawny felt. Tepals nine to twelve; stamens numerous, very short, bearing richly tinted anthers 1⁄2 in. long. Fruits cylindrical, 2 to 21⁄2 in. long, 1 in. wide, pendulous, crimson. Bot. Mag., t. 9467.
M. globosa has a wide distribution in the natural state, from the Sikkim Himalaya to N.W. Yunnan; introduced by Forrest from the Yunnan-Tibet borderland in 1919. It flowered at Loch Inch, Wigtonshire, in 1931 and in the same year received an Award of Merit when a flowering spray was shown from there by the Earl of Stair on June 16. The species was also introduced from Sikkim by Dr Watt of Aberdeen and flowered in his greenhouse in 1938 (New Flora and Sylva, Vol. 10, pp. 272-274 and fig. 92). In the following year, Dr Watt gave this plant to the late G. H. Johnstone of Trewithen, and it is still grown there beside an example of Forrest’s introduction from Yunnan. The differences between these two plants are discussed in Asiatic Magnolias, pp. 117-118.
This species also occurs in easternmost Nepal. It was stated in the first printing that Dr Watt’s plant still grows at Trewithen, Cornwall, but this was incorrect.