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Coriaria sinica Maxim.

Modern name

Coriaria nepalensis Wall.

A deciduous shrub of thin spreading habit, said to be 18 ft high in a wild state and already 15 ft high in cultivation; young shoots squarish, warted, often growing 4 to 8 ft long in a season. Leaves oval or ovate, scarcely stalked, rounded at the base, shortly pointed, strongly three-veined, very variable in size, but averaging 2 to 3 in. long by half as much wide. Flowers borne in racemes 1 to 2 in. long, in pairs at each joint of the previous summer’s growth; they have little beauty apart from the red anthers of the male flowers. The fruit (i.e. the fleshy persistent petals) is black.

Native of China, where it is very common in certain regions; introduced by Wilson in 1907. It is very nearly related to C. napalensis, but grows more strongly and is hardier. Comparing it with that species, Rehder and Wilson observe that ‘the style of C. sinica is more slender, the rudimentary pistil and petals in the male flowers are much more minute (almost wanting) and the ripe carpels are smaller’. Wilson states that in Hupeh, where it is known as ‘Ma-sang’, the shoots are said to be poisonous to cattle. It is a shrub of coarse growth, and so far as I have seen has not the garden value of terminalis or japonica. The largest plant I know of is in the garden at South Lodge near Horsham. Its main stems are 3 or 4 in. thick.



Other species in the genus