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A densely branched evergreen shrub up to 6 ft high and as much through, with a single main stem and fibrous root-system; branchlets downy. Leaves elliptic or elliptic-lanceolate to elliptic-obovate, long-acute to acuminate, obtuse to cuneate at the base, mostly 11⁄4 to 2 in. long and 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. wide, but up to 25⁄8 in. long and 1 in. wide on vigorous shoots, upper surface dark green, lower surface light green; petioles up to 1⁄4 in. long. Flowers fragrant, crowded in short clusters of one to three males and one to three females, but sometimes reduced to one or two male or female flowers. Male flowers with four white sepals about 1⁄8 in. long, much exceeded by the filaments, which are two to three times as long. Female flowers 3⁄16 in. long, with four to six sepals. Ovary with two or three stigmas. Fruits black. Bot. Mag., t. 9449, as S. humilis.
A plant of unknown origin, in cultivation since 1916; it may have been raised from seeds collected by Wilson in W. China, but is not matched by any wild specimen. From all other species, S. confusa is distinguished by the female flowers having either two or three stigmas, all other species having consistently either two or three. Its bushy habit of growth distinguishes it from all other species except S. ruscifolia, and from that species it differs in its leaves, in the fruits becoming finally black, not red, and by the number of stigmas (constantly three in R. ruscifolia). The flowers are sweetly scented, and are borne from late December to February.