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A deciduous shrub up to 12 ft high, with slender, glabrous, purplish-grey young shoots. Leaves of thin texture, ovate-lanceolate or oval-lanceolate, often long and slenderly pointed, sometimes more abruptly pointed, the base tapered or almost rounded, 2 to 4 in. long, 1 to 2 in. wide, dark green and glabrous above, paler and hairy on the chief veins beneath, ciliate; stalk 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long. Panicles terminal, erect, usually 6 to 8 in. long, opening in June, sometimes supported by lateral ones; flower-stalks mostly glabrous, purplish. Flowers fragrant, pale rosy lilac, white inside the corolla lobes. Corolla 1⁄3 in. long, slender-tubed; lobes spreading; anthers yellow, inserted near the top. Calyx truncate or with shallowly triangular teeth, glabrous, purplish. Seed-vessel 1⁄2 in. long, pointed, smooth, shining. Series Villosae.
Native of China; first named in 1910 from a cultivated plant in a private garden near Riga; it must, therefore, have been introduced to Europe early in the century, if not before. It was collected in Szechwan by Wilson for Messrs Veitch in 1904, and he found it again in August 1910 at Sungpan, in the northern part of the same province. It is a very hardy, charming lilac of graceful habit which first came into notice in this country through being exhibited by the Hon. Vicary Gibbs at Westminster on 8 June 1915, when it received an Award of Merit. Messrs Lemoine sent out a lilac which they called ‘S. Swiginzowii superba.’ Except that it has panicles somewhat larger than ordinary, such as might be developed under very good cultivation, it does not seem to differ from the type. The species is akin to S. villosa, but has thinner, smaller leaves and a more slender corolla tube, from which the anthers do not protrude.
S. tigerstedtii H. Sm. – A medium-sized shrub closely related to S. sweginzowii and still relatively little known. It was introduced by Prof. Harry Smith of Uppsala in 1934 from W. Szechwan, China, and bears erect panicles of very pale pink flowers with a fragrance likened by the collector to that of carnations, but more spicy (H. Smith in Lustgården, Vol. 28-9, pp. 105-10 (1948)). It was introduced to Britain about 1954 and is available in commerce. Its name commemorates C. G. Tigerstedt, owner of the Mustila Arboretum in Finland.