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An evergreen shrub, 2 to 4 ft high; stems erect, branching towards the top, minutely downy when young. Leaves 1 to 21⁄2 in. long, half as wide; ovate, rounded and triple-veined at the base, long and finely pointed, quite glabrous, and of a very dark lustrous green above, paler beneath; stalk 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 in. long. Flowers milk-white, fragrant, produced during the winter months in the axils of the terminal leaves. Several flowers appear in each cluster, which has a short stalk 1⁄3 in. or less long. Sepals four to six, about 1⁄4 in. long; stamens (of the male flowers) 1⁄4 in. long. Fruit roundish, 1⁄4 in. wide, crimson; seeds black. Bot. Mag., t. 9045.
Native of central and western China; discovered by Henry near Ichang in 1887, and introduced from the same neighbourhood by Wilson for Messrs Veitch in 1901. In var. chinensis (Franch.) Rehd. & Wils. the leaves are narrower, up to 5⁄8 in. wide. This too was introduced by Wilson; it is commoner in western China than the typical state and also more frequent in cultivation and more vigorous, but judging from wild specimens the two states are linked by intermediates.
S. ruscifolia and its variety, although their flowers possess only a very modest beauty, are, with their neat habit and dark, polished leaves, decidedly pleasing, and their cut stems are useful to the flower-arranger, as they last three weeks in water.