A low, densely branched, evergreen shrub, of close, neat, sturdy habit; young shoots hairy. Leaves leathery, thick, densely arranged towards the end of the twig; oval inclined to obovate; 1 to 2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. wide; stalkless, the base tapered, the apex rounded and notched, margin revolute; dark glossy green, glabrous. Flowers produced during early May in a crowded cluster 3 in. across terminating the branch, each flower borne on a short, conspicuously brown-felted stalk; perianth tube glabrous, 5⁄8 in. long; rosy purple outside; glistening white, tinged with purple inside; lobes ovate, 1⁄3 in. long. Fruit bright red. Bot. Mag., t. 8430.
Native of W. China and the E. Himalaya; discovered by Pratt near Tatsien-lu (Kangting) at 13,500 ft elevation. Introduced from the same spot by Wilson in 1901 and more recently by Ludlow, Sherriff and Elliot from S.E. Tibet (LSE 15756). This delightful daphne makes a compact bush growing slowly to about 2 ft high; the flowers are fragrant, like lilac. It is very hardy and amenable to cultivation. See also D. tangutica.
D. × mantensiana T. M. C. Taylor & F. Vrugtman – A hybrid between D. × burkwoodii and D. retusa, raised at Manten’s nursery, British Columbia, and put into commerce in 1953. It is a bushy evergreen shrub with very fragrant flowers resembling those of D. retusa in their colouring. Leaves oblong or narrow-obovate, retuse at the apex. It is in cultivation at Wisley and other gardens. The original clone has been named ‘Manten’.