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A deciduous shrub, described as up to 20 ft high in the wild; branches erect, glabrous or nearly so. Leaves simple, 3 to 7 in. long, 11⁄2 to 3 in. wide; obovate or wedge-shaped, broadest near the apex, where they narrow abruptly to a point, upper surface rough to the touch, lower one clothed at first with a brownish down, especially on the midrib and axils of the veins. The veins of the leaf are in fifteen to over twenty pairs, parallel, and about 3⁄16 in. apart; margins set with bristle-like teeth. Flowers yellowish white at first then almost pure white, deliciously scented, 1⁄6 in. across; produced in downy pyramidal panicles terminating the branches, 5 to 9 in. high, and as much through. Fruits globose, about the size of peppercorns, black. Bot. Mag., t. 8357.
Native of W. China; introduced by Wilson in 1901 for Messrs Veitch, and first flowered in their nursery at Coombe Wood in July 1909, when I saw it, and was much attracted by its fine panicles, and especially by the hawthorn-like fragrance. It was later introduced by Forrest from Yunnan. It is, no doubt, allied to the older M. myriantha, but is a hardier plant, easily distinguished by the shape of the leaves, the lower two-thirds of which is uniformly and distinctly wedge-shaped.
See M. dilleniifolia subsp. cuneifolia below.