Deciduous shrub to 3 m or so tall,mostly with a flat, tiered branching system. Leaves to 10 cm or so long, ovate to elliptic or obovate, with a short, pointed tip, deep red to purplish in autumn, vein pairs 8-12. Flower clusters flat-topped or spherical. Fertile flowers small, sterile ones large and showy.
f. plicatum, Japanese Snowball. Flowers all sterile, forming a greenish to white ball. Long in cultivation in China and Japan before its transfer to the Western world.
f. tomentosum (Thunb.) Rehder. This is the wild form from Japan and China with tiered horizontal branches and flower heads flat-topped with large, sterile, marginal ray 'lace-cap'-like flowers that are very similar to those of the lace-cap hydrangeas.
Source: (2002). Caprifoliaceae. 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.
Leaves wide, the veins below reddish. Flower clusters round, appearing early, the individual flowers occasionally becoming pinkish.
Ray flowers, some at least, more than 5 cm wide.
Raised at Lanarth, c. 1930 and possibly confused with 'Mariesii'.
Flower clusters larger than in the type, the ray flowers to about 4 cm wide. Leaves purplish red in autumn.
Collected by Charles Maries from the Orient in 1870s; it was named by Veitch in 1902.
Small-leaved, slow growing plant. Ray florets becoming pink with age.
A USA selection.
Flowers white and pale pink together in a ball of sterile flowers.
A sport of var. plicatum.
Compact shrub with tiered branches, the leaves purplish red in autumn. Flowers pure white.