A shrub said to reach 8 ft or so in the wild (but considerably more in cultivation), with slender branches and of erect habit; young shoots glandular-hairy at first, later glabrous. Leaves ovate to broadly ovate, more or less cordate at the base, shortly acuminate at the apex, up to 4 in. long, slightly silky-hairy when young, soon glabrous, dark green above and somewhat glaucous beneath; margins set with small bristle-like teeth; leaf-stalks slightly glandular. Flowers pale yellow, fragrant, in racemes 1 to 2 in. long, composed of eight to twenty flowers; bracts oblong, concave, clad with long hairs; calyx glabrous; petals hatchet-shaped, the blade being broader than long and clawed at the base; staminodes emarginate or truncate at the apex.
Native of W. China in the province of Hupeh; discovered by Wilson and introduced by him in 1907. The var. Levis Rehd. & Wils., introduced by Wilson in 1908 from W. Szechwan, differs chiefly in having the young growths and flower-stalks free of glands; mature growths brown.
This is a quite hardy species and has attained a considerable size in cultivation: there is a fine specimen at Trewithen in Cornwall, 20 ft high and 10 ft across; at Furzey near Lyndhurst, in the New Forest, it is even taller. If grown in full sun, the leaves of this species develop a glaucous, waxy bloom. It is allied to C. willmottiae, but in that species the staminodes are always deeply notched at the apex and the leaves downy beneath.
C. yunnanensis Diels – This species was introduced by Forrest from the Lichiang Range of Yunnan, China, in 1906. It is allied to the preceding, but is not glandular in any part. Leaves downy on the veins beneath. Petals with an orbicular or obovate blade; calyx-lobes edged with fine hairs and slightly downy on the outside.