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A tree rarely to 17m tall. Bark dull grey, developing close, lumpy and corky ridges. Twigs quite slender (2–2.8 mm thick), usually with dense white stellate hairs. Buds with two exposed scales of about equal length, densely grey-tomentose. Leaves 5.5–12 × 4-8.5 cm, rather triangular and broadest near the base which is usually cordate; marginal teeth quite long and usually forward-pointing; underleaf grey with stellate pubescence (mostly 8-armed), and with brown hairs under the veins. Floral bracts 5.5–11 × 1–2 cm, often sessile, densely covered beneath with grey-white stellate hairs. Inflorescence drooping, with 8–20 small cup-shaped flowers. Staminodes present. Fruit 8–10 mm, spherical, often weakly mamillate, with dense stellate hairs and a thick (0.8–1 mm) wall (Pigott 2012, Flora of China 2018).
Distribution China Anhui, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Zhejiang
USDA Hardiness Zone 7
RHS Hardiness Rating H5
Conservation status Not evaluated (NE)
Native of E. China (Kiangsu). It is sacred to Buddhists, and has long been cultivated about temples both in China and in Japan, from which it was first described. The description given above is of the form cultivated at Kew, but there are others in which the leaves are relatively much broader. It is a slow-growing tree with us, but flowers freely in the second half of July. The Kew tree, though planted in 1904, measures only 20 × 11⁄4 ft (1974).