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A deciduous, glabrous climbing shrub with twining stems, triangular when young, each angle winged. Leaves leathery, shining, of variable shape, elliptical, ovate or cordate, pointed or rounded at the apex and sparsely toothed, 3 to 4 in. long; stalk 1 to 2 in. long. Flowers 1⁄2 in. across, unisexual, white, borne on a stout stalk 2 in. long. The column on which the carpels are borne elongates after the flowers are faded and becomes fleshy, and 2 to 3 in. long; on this the mucilaginous carpels are borne. They are eaten by the Chinese.
Introduced by Wilson for Messrs Veitch about 1900, from W. Hupeh and Szechwan, but discovered by Henry long previously. It is easily distinguished from S. chinensis by the lustrous, thicker leaves and triangular branchlets: Quite hardy at Kew.
S. glaucescens Diels – This is closely allied to S. henryi. It has not the angled young shoots of that species and the leaves are shorter stalked, more glaucous beneath, more tapered at the base and of thinner texture. Flowers orange-red; fruit scarlet. A deciduous climber growing 20 ft high which flowers in May and June. Introduced from Central China by Wilson in 1907. Another species of the same group is:
S. pubescens Hemsl. & Wils. – This is easily recognised by the dense covering of short curled hairs beneath the leaf. Wilson says its ‘attractive yellow flowers are succeeded by still more conspicuous orange-red fruits.’ He is credited with introducing it in 1907, but it seems to be very uncommon.