A large, evergreen shrub or small tree of loose, graceful, pendent growth; young shoots downy. Leaves 3 to 4 in. long, one-third as wide, entire, lanceolate, acuminate, the base rounded to cordate, dull deep green, downy. Flowers in dense, compound racemes; corolla rich purplish red, tubular, swelling upwards, 3⁄4 in. long, but contracted at the mouth to five small triangular lobes. Fruit a grape-like, globose, deep red-purple berry, 3⁄4 in. wide. Bot. Mag., t. 5659.
Native of Mexico and a well-known cool-greenhouse shrub which has been in cultivation 100 years or more. It is hardy in the milder parts of Britain. I saw it beautifully in flower in Col. Stephenson-Clarke’s garden at Binstead, Isle of Wight, in June 1939.
The species varies considerably in such characters as length and colour of corolla and size of berry. In var. longiflorum Francey the flowers are more than 1 in. long; in the garden clone ‘Smithii’, figured as var. smithii (Hort.) Bailey in Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 249, they are pink.
C. fasciculatum (Schlecht.) Miers Meyenia fasciculata Schlecht. – It is mainly in its garden characters that this species differs from C. elegans; it is earlier flowering and has flowers of a purer shade of red in a more compact inflorescence. Botanically, it differs from that species in having the corolla downy or hairy on the outside. Native of Mexico. Bot. Mag., t. 4183.
C. ‘Newellii’. – A plant of garden origin, raised by a Mr Newell of Downham Market, Norfolk, shortly before 1880. Its parentage is unknown, but most probably it is a seedling of one or other of the two preceding species; it has flowers of a more vivid shade of crimson than either and was given an Award of Meriti 1951.