- Deciduous shrub, multistemmed, 10 ft (3 m) tall in cultivation (to 50 ft in its native habitat), densely branched, upright habit. Leaves alternate, simple, 5 × 12 cm, glossy, leathery, base deeply heart-shaped (cordate), margin textured (transparent line around the edge). (Leaves similar to those of C. canadensis.) Flowers small (1.5-2 cm), lavender to crimson, bloom in spring before leaves appear. Fruit pod-like, about 9 cm long and 1-1.5 cm wide.
- Sun to part shade. Adaptable to many soil types, but avoid poorly drained areas. Reportedly spectacular in bloom in the high deserts of southwestern U.S.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 6. (Less hardy than C. canadensis.) Native to central China.
- A few selections:
- Avondale - has deep purple flowers and dark green leaves, popular.
- Alba - has white flowers
- Don Egolf - is a new release (2001) from the U.S. National Arboretum, a prolific producer of rose mauve flowers, but is fruitless, and hence not an invasive threat.
- Silverton, Oregon: The Oregon Garden