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A deciduous grey shrub 3 to 6 ft high in cultivation, but occasionally 10 ft in the wild; young branchlets downy. Leaves wedge-shaped or obovate, 1⁄8 to 5⁄8 in. long, 1⁄2 to 1⁄4 in. wide towards the apex, where it is cut into three large, rounded teeth, tapering gradually towards the base, covered with white down beneath, grey-green and downy above. Flowers yellow, almost stalkless, produced in May, usually singly from buds on twigs of the previous year’s wood; calyx covered with grey down, intermixed with gland-tipped hairs, funnel-shaped, five-lobed; stamens numerous, arranged in a ring. Each flower is about 1⁄3 in. wide. Fruits 1⁄2 in. long, downy, crowned with the persistent style.
Native of western N. America, from British Columbia to California; introduced by Douglas in 1826, first flowered in the Horticultural Society’s Garden in 1830. According to Loudon, all the plants about London were killed during the winter of 1837-8, but plants grew unsheltered in a border at Kew for over twenty years. Unfortunately these have now been lost. It is not a very attractive shrub, although curious and interesting. It prefers a rather light soil, and can be propagated by layers.