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Osteomeles schweriniae Schneid.

Modern name

Osteomeles schweriniae C.K.Schneid.


O. anthyllidifolia of some authors, in part, not Lindl.

An evergreen shrub growing probably 6 to 8 ft high in the open, considerably more against a wall; the long, slender, flexible branchlets covered with short grey hairs. Leaves pinnate, 2 to 4 in. long, composed of eight and a half to fifteen and a half pairs of leaflets, covered, more especially beneath, with grey down; main-stalk hairy, channelled above. Leaflets oblong-oval or obovate, with a short abrupt point, stalkless, 14 to 58 in. long, about one-third as wide. Flowers white, 12 to 23 in. wide, produced in June in branching corymbs 112 to 3 in. across, terminating lateral twigs; calyx-lobes ovate-lanceolate, hairy outside, glabrous within. Fruits egg-shaped, 14 to 38 in. long, at first dark red, blue-black when ripe, glabrous, crowned by the persistent calyx; five-seeded. Bot. Mag., t. 7354.

Native of Yunnan and other parts of W. China, originally raised in the Jardin des Plantes at Paris from seed which had been sent from Yunnan by the Abbé Delavay in 1888; introduced to Kew in 1892. Forms nearly allied to this Chinese plant occur through the south-east Pacific region as far as the Sandwich Islands. The whole were at first included under O. anthyllidifolia Lindl., but the west Chinese plant has been separated on the strength of its glabrous fruit, less hairy calyx-lobes, and usually but not always narrower leaves, thus leaving Lindley’s name for the tropical and subtropical woolly-fruited plants. They are extremely closely allied, but perhaps the latter could not be grown out-of-doors with us.

O. schweriniae is a shrub of distinct appearance, its foliage very suggestive of some of the Leguminosae; it is also very elegant in habit and attractive in blossom. But we do not find it hardy in the open, although it survives mild winters. It makes a very delightful wall plant. It can be increased by cuttings made of moderately ripened wood placed in gentle heat. Seed only ripens in favourable years.

var. microphylla Rehd. & Wils. – This variety is distinguished from the type by its smaller, less downy leaves, glabrous calyx, and denser habit. Introduced by Wilson from W. China in 1908, under W.1016. Many of the plants cultivated in Britain belong to this variety, which is linked to the type by intermediates and perhaps hardly worth distinguishing.

O. schweriniae is a characteristic member of the vegetation of the hot, dry, river valleys of W. China and needs a very sunny position in well-drained soil. The Wilson introduction (var. microphylla) is hardy in such a position, even without the protection of a wall.



Other species in the genus