A deciduous shrub 10 or 12 ft high, with very pithy young wood, covered at first with minute specks of white starry down. Leaves like those of a catalpa, ovate, rounded or broadly tapered at the base, gradually tapered at the apex to a long slender point; they vary much in size, the largest being 9 or 10 in. long by 6 in. wide, the smallest less than one-third those dimensions, at first they are clothed with down like that on the shoots, but this soon falls away, leaving them nearly or quite glabrous, the lower surface is specked with minute, transparent glands. Flowers small, crowded on erect, terminal, pyramidal panicles, 3 to 6 in. high; they have little beauty, being small and covered with white down. Males and females occur on separate plants.
Native of Japan and Central China. It is only worth growing for its handsome foliage. It was successfully cultivated at Grayswood Hill, Haslemere, but is uncommon in gardens.