A deciduous shrub usually 4 to 12 ft high, occasionally a small tree, branches in whorls; young shoots glabrous, reddish. Leaves produced in a cluster at the the end of the twig, or alternate on strong growths; obovate to oval, tapered more gradually towards the base, finely toothed, 1 to 21⁄2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. wide, hairy on the veins of both surfaces, dull green; stalk 1⁄8 to 5⁄8 in. long. Flowers produced during May from the terminal bud of the previous year’s growth in a hairy raceme sometimes almost reduced to an umbel. Corolla bell-shaped, 1⁄3 in. long, pendulous, with five rounded lobes, pale creamy yellow, veined and tipped with red; calyx with five lanceolate, pointed divisions 1⁄6 in. long; stamens very short; flower-stalk downy, 1⁄2 to 1 in. long. Ovary and style glabrous. Seed-vessel egg-shaped, 3⁄4 in. long.
Native of Japan; introduced in 1880, by Maries, for Messrs Veitch. This is the most satisfactory of the species of Enkianthus in our gardens, being quite hardy and flowering freely. It is sometimes cut by late frost. In the Arnold Arboretum, Mass., where the frosts are much more severe than ours, it succeeds remarkably well. The leaves turn golden and red in autumn.
f. albiflorus (Mak.) Mak. E. pallidiflorus Craib – Flowers white or greenish white. Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 512.
var. matsudae (Komatsu) Mak. E. matsudae Komatsu – Leaves broadly lanceolate to narrowly ovate, rather coarsely toothed. Flowers deep red.
var. palibinii Bean E. palibinii (Bean) Craib; E. rubicundus Matsumura & Nakai – The plant figured in Bot. Mag., t. 7059 is a distinct form, the flowers being almost wholly of a rich deep red, rather smaller than in the ordinary form, and produced in a distinct raceme. There is a conspicuous line of reddish down bordering the base of the midrib of the leaf beneath. Similar plants are found in the wild state.
E. campanulatus varies somewhat in the shape of its leaves, the length of the inflorescences, colour of flower, depth of lobing of the corolla and length of style. W. G. Craib (Notes Bot. Gard. Edin., Vol. 11, Oct. 1919) made a number of species out of these variations, described from plants raised from Japanese seed (perhaps of garden origin) in the Edinburgh Botanic Garden. They are: E. ferrugineus, latiflorus, pendulus, recurvus and tectus.