Shrub 3-4 m tall with stiff, warty branches. Leaves to more than 10 cm long, elliptic, shiny above, waxy-blue below, with hairy veins. Flowers in narrow, erect, deep violet clusters to about 15 cm long, the floral lobes directed forwards; summer.
Species characterised by the deep lilac flowers and leaves that, like those of S. emodi, are whitish below.
This species has been used for hybridisation and crosses with S. villosa, that are referred to S. ×henryi, are occasionally available. A few cultivars exist with reddish or pale flowers.
Similar to S. patula but with the flower lobes erect and the anthers yellow, attached about halfway down the tube.
S. wolfii Schneid. from Korea and Manchurian China is a deciduous shrub to 5 m tall. New growth more or less hairless. Leaves to 15 cm long, oval to lanceolate, hairless above, downy below. Flower clusters to 30 cm long, hairy. Flowers with tube to 1.5 cm long, lilac, the lobes erect, fragrant; summer.
Source: (2002). Oleaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 4. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 3. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.