Shrub to 1.5 m, branches with 2 hairy ridges when young. Leaves linear or oblanceolate or obovate 3.5–11 x 1.5–4.5 cm, apex acute or acuminate, base cuneate or rounded, margin shallowly serrate or serrate, upper surface glabrous, lower surface sparsely hairy, lateral veins 5–7, petiole absent or < 0.5 cm, hairy. Cymes axillary or terminal on previous year’s growth, 2- or 3-flowered, occasionally 1-flowered. Pedicel 1–2 cm long, bracts awl-shaped 5–10 mm long, hairy, bracteoles linear or awl-shaped, 0.3–0.8 cm, persistent. Calyx tube 5-lobed, bilaterally symmetric, linear or awl-shaped, upper 3 lobes 0.2–0.8 cm long, lower 2 lobes, 0.7–1.2 cm long, free half of length, 0.6–1.7 x c. 0.1 cm, hairy. Corolla funnel-shaped, 3–4 x 1–1.2 cm, gradually widening from the base, pale yellow, sparsely hair outside. Corolla tube 2.5–3.2 cm long, orange spotted, sparsely hairy inside, corolla 5-lobed, slightly bilaterally symmetric, ovate or oblong, upper 3 lobes 0.5–0.8 cm long, lower 2 lobes 0.8–1 cm long, (c. 20–30% of length of corolla tube). Stamen as long as corolla, filaments 1–1.5 cm long, densely hairy towards base; anthers, fused, linear 0.6–0.7 cm, reddish-brown. Style slightly longer than corolla, 2.5–3 cm long, glabrous, stigma cap-like, 2–4 mm diameter. Fruit cylindrical, tapering to a point, 1–3 cm long, dehiscing from apex, hairy. Seeds linear, 5–8 mm long, with wings at both ends. Flowers: May to August. Fruits: September to November. (Iwatsuki, K. (ed) 1993).
Distribution Japan Hokkiodo, north Honshu and southern Kuriles Russia Khabarovsk Krai, Amur Oblast, Primorsky Krai, Sakhalin
Habitat Forested mountain slopes and sub-alpine scrub exposed slopes, volcanic mountains. 20 - 1800 m.
USDA Hardiness Zone 5-7
RHS Hardiness Rating H5
Weigela middendorffiana is the sole species within the section Calyptrostigma. Like W. maximowiczii it is yellow flowered, but distinguished by the two-lipped calyx, the hooded stigma and the connate anthers. Various authors have pointed out that W. middendorffiana is, as an ornamental shrub, far superior to W. maximowiczii, but both species can be badly damaged by late spring frosts so their deployment in gardens should take this into account.
Where it succeeds W. middendorffiana is a beautiful garden shrub, the flowers – sulphur yellow, often with darker yellows or orange in the throat – are freely produced and yet the overall effect remains modest, unlike so many modern Weigela cultivars. Exfoliating bark extendings interest into the winter months. It was introduced to Europe in 1850 (Bean 1981b; Hillier & Coombes 2002).
RHS Hardiness Rating: H5
A compact selection to 1 m tall and broad, which reliably produces open clusters of cream-yellow flowers, with their throats richly mottled orange-pink, over an 8–10 week period from late spring into early summer. It was raised in the United Kingdoms by the Hillier nurseries and released through their HILLIER™ collections. It is now widely available (planthaven.com).