This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
We introduce this genus merely to notice the varieties with ornamental foliage, imported some years ago from China. Their habit recalls somewhat that of a palm, all the leaves being tufted on the summit of a tall simple stem. But it is the form and colour of the leaves that gives them their greatest charm. The leaves are variously cut, dissected, feathered, frilled, and curled, and exhibit every shade of rose and violet purple, and in some varieties variegated with white.
§ 2. Pod nearly or quite as broad as long, dehiscing throughout its whole length, and compressed at right angles to the septum or partition,