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Clethra monostachya Rehd. & Wils.

Modern name

Clethra delavayi Franch.

A deciduous shrub or small tree up to 10 ft high; young shoots at first sprinkled with star-like down. Leaves oval-lanceolate, much tapered at both ends but more slenderly towards the apex, saw-toothed; 3 to 512 in. long, 1 to 2 in. wide; dark green and soon quite glabrous above, paler beneath, and with down tufted in the vein-axils and spread along the midrib; stalk 12 to 1 in. long. Flowers white, produced during July and August in a terminal raceme up to 8 in. long and 1 in. wide, the main and secondary flower-stalks densely clothed with starry down. The pure white petals are oblong, 14 in. long, rounded or notched at the apex; calyx-lobes ovate, pointed, felted. Stamens a little longer than the petals, hairy at the base; style downy; seed-vessel 15 in. wide, downy.

Native of W. Szechwan, China; discovered by Wilson at 5,000 to 7,000 ft elevation and introduced by him to the Coombe Wood nursery in 1903. It is quite hardy. From C. fargesii it differs in having usually solitary racemes. That species with its clusters of long racemes would appear to be the finer one and it differs botanically from C. monostachya by its glabrous style.



Other species in the genus