Loropetalum chinense, commonly called Chinese fringe flower, is a white-flowered broad-leaved evergreen shrub of the witch hazel family. It is native to woodlands in China, Southeast Asia and Japan. It typically grows in a rounded multi-stemmed form to 6-10’ tall, but may over time rise to as much as 20’ tall. Alternate, ovate, dark green, evergreen leaves (to 2.5” long) have asymmetrical bases. Leaves are pale green and pubescent below. Brown shoots are pubescent. Lightly aromatic, spidery flowers bloom in clusters in spring (late March-April). Each flower has four narrow, downward-drooping, strap-shaped white petals (3/4″ wide and 1/16″ long).
A number of cultivars featuring showy reddish purple leaves (var. rubrum) are available in commerce.
Genus name comes from the Greek words loron meaning strap and petalon meaning leaf or petal in reference to the form of the flower petals.
Specific epithet means China in reference to part of its native range.
‘Rubrum’ is a pink to red flowered cultivar.
It is a popular ornamental plant, grown for its prolific clusters of flowers and (in the case of the pink flowering variety) deeply coloured foliage that may contain various green, copper, purple and red tones. The leaves, flowers and roots of L. chinense (檵木) are all used in traditional Chinese medicine.