Abelia × grandiflora (André) Rehd.

Modern name

Abelia × grandiflora (Ravelli ex André) Rehder

Synonyms

A. rupestris grandiflora André; A. chinensis Hort., not R. Br.; A. rupestris Hort.

An evergreen shrub 3 to 6 ft high, with slender, arching branches clothed with minute down. Leaves of a brilliant dark green, ovate, pointed, 1 to 212 in. long, half as wide, mostly more or less shallowly toothed; quite glabrous above, pale shining green beneath, downy only on the lower part of the midrib. Flowers slightly fragrant, produced from July to October at the end of the shoots of the year and in the leaf-axils; solitary to as many as four on a stalk. Corolla white tinged with pink, funnel-shaped, 34 in. long, nearly as wide at the five-lobed mouth; throat hairy. Sepals two to five, 34 in. long, but varying in width according to the number, the lower numbers being proportionately wider; they persist for several months, and are often of a purplish tinge.

A hybrid between A. chinensis and A. uniflora first described in 1886 from a plant raised from seed in the Rovelli nurseries, Pallanza, on Lake Maggiore; whether the plants cultivated today are from this or some other source is not known, since the cross may have occurred in other gardens. Like many hybrids, A. × grandiflora appears to have acquired a vigour and constitution superior to that of either of its parents. It is hardy at Kew in all but the severest winters, when it is cut to the ground; it is also the most ornamental of the really hardy kinds. The habit is graceful, the foliage a singularly brilliant green, and it is useful in blossoming so late in the season. The height given in the description is that which it normally attains; in mild gardens, and on walls, it may grow taller.

There is a variegated form in cultivation in which the greater part of the leaf-blade is pale green, irregularly streaked or marbled with darker green, especially along the midrib and main veins.

A. (× grandiflora × schumannii) ‘Edward Goucher’. – This hybrid was raised at the Glenn Dale Plant Introduction Station, Maryland, U.S.A., in 1911, but only recently introduced to this country. In foliage it leans towards A. × grandiflora, but the darker-coloured purple-pink flowers show the influence of A. schumannii, which it also resembles in having the sepals in pairs, not in threes, fours or fives as in grandiflora. The leaves are never so pubescent nor so wide as the largest leaves of A. schumannii. The barren shoots are distinctive in having the leaves in whorls of three. Mr H. G. Hillier, to whom we are indebted for this description, tells us that it is growing well in open shrubbery at Winchester.



From the Supplement (Vol. V)

The synonym A. floribunda hybrida Hort. ex Zab. should have been added. The persistence of this old horticultural name in some continental nurseries probably explains why A. × grandiflora is sometimes offered as A. floribunda, a name that belongs properly to a Mexican species (q.v.).

† cv. ‘Francis Mason’. – Young growths brightly copper-coloured or almost orange; leaves yellowish green with a darker patch in the centre, eventually passing to the normal green, the central patch then being darker than in typical A. × grandiflora. Raised in New Zealand.

Genus

Abelia

Other species in the genus