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Viburnum propinquum Hemsl.

Modern name

Viburnum propinquum Hemsl.

An evergreen shrub of bushy habit, with glabrous, shining, angular young shoots. Leaves three-veined, ovate-lanceolate to oval, wedge-shaped or rounded at the base, pointed, shallowly and sparsely toothed, 2 to 312 in. long, 34 to 114 in. wide, dark glossy green and glabrous; stalk 14 to 58 in. long. Flowers greenish white, 16 in. across, all perfect, produced in usually seven-branched cymes 112 to 3 in. wide. Fruits blue-black, egg-shaped, 15 in. long.

Native of Central and Western China, Formosa and the Philippines; discovered by Henry and introduced by Wilson for Messrs Veitch in 1901, and again later. It is hardy at Wakehurst Place in Sussex and at Exbury on the Solent, but needs a sheltered position. Even on one plant the leaves vary in shape; forms with consistently narrow leaves have been distinguished in gardens by the epithets angustifolium and lanceolatum. It is distinct from all other cultivated viburnums except V. davidii and V. cinnamomifolium, but the former is dwarf and the latter has uniform, broader, scarcely toothed leaves.

The following belong, like V. propinquum, to the section Tinus, but neither is common in cultivation:

V. atrocyaneum C.B.Cl. V. wardii Hort., not W.W. Sm. – Leaves oblong, entire or indistinctly toothed, pinnately veined, about 3 in. long. Inflorescence almost sessile. Fruits about 316 in. long, hard, dark blue with a metallic lustre. Described from a specimen collected by Griffith in the Mishmi Hills of Assam. Most plants in cultivation derive from Kingdon Ward’s 9198, collected in 1931 a short distance farther east, in the Adung valley of northwest Burma. He wrote in his field note: ‘Berries small, steely blue, with a curious lustre, giving an effect of lalique. The winter contrast of red stems, dark green leaves, and bunches of gleaming opalescent fruits is charming. Found up to 7,000 ft, usually on open cliffs and ridges in full sun.’

V. calvum Rehd. V. schneiderianum Hand.-Mazz. – Leaves shortly stalked, narrowly ovate to rhombic-elliptic, to about 3 in. long and 134 in. wide, entire or with a few callous teeth, glabrous, glossy, veins five to eight on each side, deeply impressed above. Flowers white or cream-coloured, in rounded terminal corymbs about 3 in. wide, on peduncles 1 to 134 in. long. Fruits blue-black, about 14 in. long. A native of southwest China, described from a specimen collected by Henry in southern Yunnan; introduced by Forrest. It has long been grown at Exbury and has been distributed under its synonymous name. It is the probable pollen-parent of ‘Jermyns Globe’ (see under V. davidii).



Other species in the genus