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This Chinese shrub will become quite large, eventually developing into a small tree 6-7m (20-23ft) high after many years. It is a vigorous bushy species, spectacular from late summer onwards when its heads of pink buds open into balls of small white stars. These later develop bright blue berries, each surrounded by rich maroon star-shaped calyces. In exposed gardens hardiness might be doubtful, and small bushes should be protected with a winter mulch. Avoid damaging or bruising the foliage, which can smell unpleasant. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Cultivar: var. fargesii
Plant type: Deciduous shrub
Flower colour: White
Foliage colour: Mid-green
Feature: Colourful new growth, Flowers, Fruit, Attractive to wildlife
Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade
Soil: Well-drained/light, Acidic, Chalky/alkaline
Skill level: Experienced
Time to plant seeds: March to May
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