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This tall evergreen shrub from China looks rather like a bright holly, its glossy leaves armed with sharp teeth along the edges. It makes a solid pleasant backdrop of foliage when grown against a wall, the perfect foil for colourful summer flowers. In late summer the striking and unusual display of catkins emerges, really long drooping racemes of tiny greenish white, fragrant flowers. Plants tolerate shade well, and are very hardy although cold winds can damage the shoots and foliage, and young plants are best protected over winter. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Plant type: Evergreen shrub
Flower colour: Green
Foliage colour: Mid-green
Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade
Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Acidic, Chalky/alkaline
Skill level: Experienced
Time to take cuttings: April to June
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