A shrub of bushy habit, 6 ft or more high. Leaves 3 to 5 in. long, ovate or oval, acute or often acuminate; dark glossy green, and rough above, glaucous and slightly downy beneath. Flowers with little or no scent, 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 in. diameter, the strap-shaped sepals and petals chocolate-purple.
Native of the south-eastern United States, covering some of the same area as C. floridus, with which species it has been much confused. It was brought to England in 1806. The leaves of this species do not possess the aromatic odour so characteristic of the West American species, and the wood is only slightly fragrant. Summer leaf-buds concealed by base of leaf-stalk.
var. laevigatus (Willd.) Bean C. laevigatus Willd. – This shrub, by some considered a distinct species, chiefly differs from typical C. fertilis by the leaves being shining green and not downy beneath. Several intermediate forms exist.
cv. ‘Nanus’. – A dwarf form with smaller leaves, which are green, not glaucous beneath.