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A dwarf shrub 6 in. to 2 ft high in the wild, spreading by underground runners and forming an underscrub in thickets or amongst rocks in open alpine meadows; annual growths short, thinly hairy at first, becoming glabrous and grey or grey-brown, with a few large lenticels; winter buds narrow-ovoid, acute, brownish red, almost glabrous except at the tips, about 1⁄4 in. long. Leaves to about 4 in. long including petiole, with four to seven pairs of leaflets; rachis deeply grooved, it and the petiole tinged with brownish red. Lateral leaflets oblong-elliptic to oblong-ovate, obtuse to abruptly acute at the apex, cuneate at the base, 3⁄4 to 11⁄4 in. long (on cultivated plants), about 3⁄8 in. wide, sharply and rather deeply toothed, upper surface dark green, reticulate, glossy, glabrous except for scattered whitish hairs at first, undersurface almost glabrous but with scattered brownish hairs when unfolding, some of which persist for a time. Stipules awl-shaped. Flowers white, about 3⁄8 in. wide, borne in May, few together in lax corymbs; inflorescence branches glabrous or sparsely hairy; pedicels very short. Receptacles glabrous, calyx-lobes ovate-triangular, acute, hairy inside near the reddish apex. Stamens reduced in number, mostly about ten; styles and carpels three to five. Fruits globose, pink, about 1⁄4 in. wide.
S. reducta was discovered by Forrest in 1906 on the eastern flank of the Lichiang range of Yunnan, China, but the cultivated plants derive from seeds collected by Dr T. T. Yü in 1937 (Yü 14439). The Kingdon Ward introduction originally named S. reducta is S. poteriifolia (pygmaea), q.v. It is easily grown in any good, moist soil, soon forming a clump 3 ft or more across, but on poor soils it is inclined to wander, sending up a shoot here and there. The leaves usually turn bronze before falling.