This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
This was sent to the Royal Horticultural Society by Mr. Fortune, from the Chusan Hills, Ningpo, and Shanghai. It is a small downy-branched bush, with thin deciduous opposite and alternate ovate-oblong leaves, covered with very soft fine hairs. The flowers, which generally appear very early in Spring, are bluish-lilac, arranged in clusters of four, upon branches scarcely beginning to put forth their leaves. They are rather more than an inch long, covered externally with soft, closely pressed hairs, and divided in the border into four roundish, oblong, obtuse, uneven lobes, of which the two inner ones are the smallest. In the inside of the tubes of the calyx are eight nearly sessile stamens in two rows, with narrow sharp-pointed anthers. The ovary, is smooth, stalked, one-celled, with a small fleshy scale at its base, and a single suspended ovule; it produces abruptly from its summit a very short cylindrical style, ended by a capitate hairy stigma. No species yet described approaches very nearly to this, which has been named after its enterprising discoverer; the seed being unknown, it can only be conjectured that it belongs to the Mezereum divisions of the genus.
It is a greenhouse or perhaps, half-hardy shrub, and is a charming addition to this class of plants, more especially since it appears to be well adapted for forcing. - Garden.