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A deciduous shrub or small tree, occasionally 25 ft high and upwards in China. Leaves broadly elliptic to obovate, 3 to 6 in. long, 21⁄2 to 41⁄2 in. wide, rather like those of a lime, but short-stalked, strongly veined beneath, and covered there with starry hairs (like the young shoots), the margins set with bristle-like teeth. Flowers greenish, in slender, terminal, pendulous racemes 9 in. long. Fruits very downy, egg-shaped capsules, 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. long, stalkless, and arranged on long slender spikes.
Native of central and western China, common in N.W. Hupeh, where it inhabits the banks of mountain streams at 3,000 to 4,000 ft; introduced by Wilson for the Arnold Arboretum in 1908. It is of botanical interest but of little ornamental value, the flowers having no great beauty.