An evergreen shrub 5 to 6 ft or probably more high, with glabrous branchlets. Leaves 3 to 6 in. long, 1 to 11⁄2 in. wide; tapering towards both ends, quite glabrous and entire, deep green in the middle with a yellow margin of varying width. Flowers produced singly or in pairs from the axils of the leaves, each one nearly 3⁄4 in. across when fully open, the flower-stalk 1⁄2 in. long; petals pale yellow. Bot. Mag., t. 7434.
C. fortunei was introduced from Japan by Robert Fortune about 1860, and was long grown in gardens, chiefly in cool greenhouses, as “Eurya latifolia variegata”. It never appears to have flowered, or the fact of its doing so was not generally made known until 1894. In the September of that year it was exhibited in flower at Chiswick, and flowering specimens were sent to Kew about the same time, by Thomas Acton of Kilmacurragh. In this and other similarly situated gardens it may be grown without protection, but in colder localities wall protection is necessary. At Edinburgh, in the Royal Botanic Garden, it is reasonably hardy in a sheltered position. It has long been cultivated by the Japanese for its handsomely variegated leaves, but is probably a native of China. It is quite easily rooted from cuttings in gentle heat. No green-leaved form of the plant appears to be known, but it is certainly very near to C. japonica in its botanical characters. If considered to be a form of that species, as it is by some authorities, its correct name would be C. japonica ‘Tricolor’ (C. japonica tricolor Nicholson in Dict. Gard., Vol. 1, 1885; C. japonica f. tricolor [Nichols.] Kobuski).