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A genus of deciduous shrubs, closely allied to the honeysuckles, with about twelve species in temperate E. Asia. Leaves opposite, serrate. Flowers borne on short lateral twigs on the year-old branches. Calyx five-lobed, persistent. Corolla tubular-campanulate or funnel-shaped, more or less regular (not two-lipped). Stamens five, shorter than the corolla. Ovary inferior, slender and elongate. Style one, with a capitate or hood-like stigma. Fruit a capsule, opening by two valves. Seeds numerous, very small. The genus was named by Thunberg after the German botanist C. E. von Weigel (d. 1831). The spelling ‘Weigelia’ is incorrect.

The genus Diervilla is closely allied, but its flowers are borne at the ends of the current season’s growths and the corolla is two-lipped; it is confined to N. America. Weigela was at one time included in Diervilla, but it is now usual to keep them separate.

There are few more beautiful summer-flowering shrubs than the weigelas. The first of them, W. florida, was introduced in 1845. Afterwards other species arrived and hybridising was commenced, with the result that a very fine race of garden varieties has been produced, showing great variety in colour. The best known of those now in cultivation are described after the species. These now surpass the original species in effectiveness, and the latter are becoming scarce.

The weigelas are easily cultivated, and there are only two, W. hortensis and W. middendorfiana, that show any sign of tenderness. Being gross feeders, they need a rich soil. They should be pruned as soon as the flowers are past, by entirely removing the old shoots that have flowered, leaving the young shoots of the year untouched, to produce their crop the following year. They are easily propagated by cuttings of half-ripened growths.

Apart from the anomalous W. middendorffiana and W. maximowiczii, the species here described belong to the following two sections:

sect. weigela (Utsugia). – Calyx divided to the base into linear segments. Seeds narrowly winged. Here belong: W. coraeensis, W. floribunda, W. hortensis, W. japonica.

sect. calysphyrum. – Calyx divided to about the middle; lobes lanceolate or deltoid. Seeds unwinged. Here belong only W. florida and W. praecox.

Species articles