Abelia chinensis R.Br.

Chinese Abelia




Family: Caprifoliaceae

Genus: Abelia

Category: Shrub - Evergreen

Zones: 7 to 9

Size: 5 to 7' tall, 4 to 6' wide

Growth Rate: Moderate

Exposure: Sun, Filtered Sun, Part Shade


Semi-evergreen, drought tolerant, flowers on new growth from July to September. Attracts butterflies. Moist, well-drained soil preferred.


One of the parents of Abelia x grandiflora.

Published in Narr. Journey China 376 in 1818. The Narrative describes the journey of Dr. Clarke Abel (1780-1826) in China in 1816 to 1817, as Chief Medical Officer to the Ambassador Lord Amherst. He describes Abelia chinensis as: "A very distinct new genus... a straggling shrub with pendant branches... Its flowers were, for the most part, faded when it was found; but its permanent pink calyces, clustered into thick heads, gave it a beautiful appearance."

Appendix B to the Narrative is entitled "Descriptions of Three new Species of China Plants by Robert Brown, Esq. F.R.S." These were Hamamelis chinensis, Abelia chinensis and Eurya chinensis, selected from the specimens brought back by Clarke Abel which survived the shipwreck of the Alceste. Those specimens were a selection which Abel had presented to Sir George Staunton in China and were returned to Abel by Staunton upon his return to England. It is the Appendix by R. Brown which is regarded as the true publication of the species. Brown named the Genus Abelia to honour Abel.


My Experience: 

I purchased a 1-gallon plant from Nurseries Caroliniana in September 2010 and planted it close to the screen porch so that we might enjoy the fragrance. It bloomed profusely in September and October 2011.

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner