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A deciduous climber, with slender, twining stems, 20 ft or more high, furnished with a little loose down when young. Leaves opposite, heart-shaped, 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 in. long, from two-thirds to as much wide, with short, abrupt points, pale rather glaucous green, with a little loose down on the midrib and veins beneath; stalk 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. long. Corymbs terminal and axillary, the latter often in pairs, but only borne in the axil of one of each pair of leaves, 2 to 4 in. long, erect. Flowers white, 1⁄3 in. across, sweetly scented, the five segments of the corolla narrow oblong, 1⁄4 in. long, rounded at the end. Calyx-lobes ovate, transparent at the margins. Fruits narrowly cone-shaped or spindle-shaped, 3 in. long, 1⁄2 in. wide at the base, tapering to a point; each seed has a brush-like attachment of silky white hairs 1 in. long. Blooms in June and July.
Native of S.E. Europe and Asia Minor; cultivated in England in the 16th century, but long regarded as a greenhouse plant. It is the hardiest member of a large genus, and succeeds very well against a sunny wall, but is liable to be killed in the open. It is not quite so hardy as its ally, Periploca graeca. When cut, the stems exude milky juice, which has a blistering effect on the skin, and is very poisonous taken internally.
See Cionura erecta in this supplement.