1. Family: Caprifoliaceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Abelia R.Br.
      1. Abelia parvifolia Hemsl.

        The generic name, Abelia, commemorates Dr Clarke Abel, a botanist and surgeon who visited China in 1816-1817 as Chief Medical Officer (on the recommendation of Sir Joseph Banks) and Naturalist to the Embassy. However, Abelia parvifolia was not grown in western gardens until almost a century later. As A. schumannii in Plantae Wilsonae, it was one of the many plants collected by Ernest Wilson (also known as ‘Chinese’ Wilson) on expeditions in 1907, 1908 and 1910, and sent back to the Arnold Arboretum in the USA. Abelia schumannii is now considered to be a synonym of A. parvifolia, which is a variable species.

    [KSP]

    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description
    Schumann abelia is an elegant shrub with arching stems, which bear clusters of attractive, lilac-pink flowers throughout the summer.

    The generic name, Abelia, commemorates Dr Clarke Abel, a botanist and surgeon who visited China in 1816-1817 as Chief Medical Officer (on the recommendation of Sir Joseph Banks) and Naturalist to the Embassy. However, Abelia parvifolia was not grown in western gardens until almost a century later. As A. schumannii in Plantae Wilsonae, it was one of the many plants collected by Ernest Wilson (also known as ‘Chinese’ Wilson) on expeditions in 1907, 1908 and 1910, and sent back to the Arnold Arboretum in the USA. Abelia schumannii is now considered to be a synonym of A. parvifolia, which is a variable species.

    Species Profile

    Geography and distribution

    Native to central China (west Sichuan Province), where it occurs at 1,200–3,600 m above sea level.

    Description

    A deciduous shrub up to around 2 m tall, with slender, arching branches. The young twigs are purple and covered with downy hairs. The leaves are green, ovate, rounded at the tip and up to about 3 cm long by about 1 cm wide. The funnel-shaped flowers are rose-pink with orange markings and up to about 1.5 cm long, and bloom from May to August.

    Illustration from Curtis's Botanical Magazine

    This hand-coloured lithograph of Abelia parvifolia was painted from a plant 'presented to the Kew collection by Sir John Ross of Bladensburg, in 1915' ( Curtis’s Botanical Magazine).

    Curtis's Botanical Magazine (Editor: Martyn Rix) provides an international forum of particular interest to botanists and horticulturists, plant ecologists and those with a special interest in botanical illustration.

    Now well over two hundred years old, the Magazine is the longest running botanical periodical featuring colour illustrations of plants. Each four-part volume contains 24 plant portraits reproduced from watercolour originals by leading international botanical artists. Detailed but accessible articles combine horticultural and botanical information, history, conservation and economic uses of the plants described.

    Find out more about Curtis's Botanical Magazine

    Uses

    Abelia parvifolia is cultivated as an ornamental. It has received an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society (under the synonym Abelia schumannii).

    Cultivation

    Abelia parvifolia performs best in full sun, in moist but well-drained soil. It can be propagated by cuttings.

    This species at Kew

    Abelia parvifolia (currently labelled Abelia schumannii) is grown to the south of the Stable Yard at Kew.

    Alcohol-preserved and pressed and dried specimens of other species of Abeliaare held in Kew’s Herbarium, where they are available to researchers by appointment. The details of some of these can be seen online in the Herbarium Catalogue.

    Distribution
    China
    Ecology
    Thickets, dry valleys and by rivers.
    Conservation
    Not known to be threatened.
    Hazards

    None known.

    Images

    Common Names

    English
    Schumann abelia

    Abelia parvifolia Hemsl. appears in other Kew resources:

    First published in J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 23: 358 (1888)

    Accepted in:

    • [5] Govaerts, R. (1995) World Checklist of Seed Plants 1(1, 2): 1-483, 529. MIM, Deurne.

    Literature

    • [1] The Plant List (2010). Abelia parvifolia.
    • [2] Phillips, R. & Rix, M. (2002). The Botanical Garden, Volume 1: Trees & Shrubs. Macmillan Press, London.
    • [3] Barnes, P.G. (2001). Looking at abelias. The New Plantsman 8: 78–92.
    • [4] Barnes, P.G. (2000). Abelia. In: The European Garden Flora, Volume 6, ed. J. Cullen et al. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Sources

    International Plant Names Index
    The International Plant Names Index (2016). Published on the Internet http://www.ipni.org
    [A] © Copyright 2016 International Plant Names Index. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Species Profiles
    Kew Species Profiles
    [B] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
    [C]

    World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
    World Checklist of Selected Plant Families(2016). Published on the Internet http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    [D] See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
    [E] © Copyright 2016 International Plant Names Index and World Checkist of Selected Plant Families. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0