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Decumaria sinensis Oliver

Modern name

Decumaria sinensis Oliv.

An evergreen climber growing probably 10 to 15 ft high; young shoots slightly furnished with appressed hairs at first, becoming grey; winter buds downy. Leaves opposite, mostly narrowly obovate or oval, rounded and blunt at the apex, more or less tapered at the base, entire or slightly toothed, 1 to 312 in. long, 12 to 134 in. wide, shining green and quite glabrous; stalk 14 to 34 in. long, often with appressed hairs near the base. Flowers yellowish white, produced in terminal, broadly pyramidal panicles 112 to 312 in. high and wide; petals seven to ten to each flower, oblong, up to 316 in. long, blunt at the apex; stamens twenty to thirty, conspicuous; flower-stalks slender, sometimes downy. Bot. Mag., t. 9429.

Native of Central China; discovered in the Ichang Gorge by Henry; introduced by Wilson in 1908. It is interesting as a Chinese representative of a genus only known previously by D. barbara, a native of eastern N. America. According to Wilson it is often found growing over rocks. The best plant I have seen was growing on a wall in the garden of the late Sir Stuart Samuel at Chelwood Vachery, near Nutley, in Sussex. It clung to the wall with a close mat of branches and in late May was sprinkled with a few flower-panicles (this plant no longer exists). Henry described it as a ‘creeper hanging down from the walls of cliffs with beautiful clusters of fragrant white flowers’, which, judging by cultivated plants, is a flattering description. The blossoms are faintly scented. It succeeds well on a south wall at Kew and in the walled garden at Wakehurst Place, Sussex.



Other species in the genus