A low, deciduous shrub with semi-herbaceous, pithy, four-angled branches, renewing itself by strong shoots from the base; it is rarely more than 2 ft high in this country. Leaves of variable size, 1 to 31⁄2 in. long on the secondary shoots, but half as large again on the first-year, sucker-like, basal ones; they are ovate-lanceolate, tapering to a long, fine point, prominently three-nerved, quite glabrous and entire, almost stalkless. Racemes produced two or three together from the joints of the year-old branches, 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 in. long, the male racemes shorter, more slender and drooping than the female ones, the flowers also smaller and inconspicuous. Petals of female flowers at first green, then thickening and becoming fleshy and turning bright coral red, ultimately purplish black; they and the fruit they enclose are 1⁄5 in. across. Bot. Mag., t. 7509.
Native of Japan; introduced to Kew in 1893, through Prof. Sargent. It is hardy at Kew, but not long-lived, and should be renewed occasionally by means of seeds or even cuttings. It is better adapted for a slightly warmer climate than that of London, and when seen at its best is extremely beautiful. It has been grown with particular success in the vicarage garden at Bitton.