Kolkwitzia amabilis

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Beauty Bush
Kolkwitzia amabilis4.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Dipsacales
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Genus: Kolkwitzia
Species: K. amabilis
Binomial name
Kolkwitzia amabilis

Kolkwitzia amabilis /kɒlˈkwɪtsi.ə əˈmæbɨlɪs/[1] is a species of flowering plant in the family Caprifoliaceae, the only known species in the monotypic genus Kolkwitzia. It is a deciduous shrub known by the common name beauty bush. The Latin amabilis means "lovely".[2]

K. amabilis flower


The plant is an arching, spreading shrub, with light brown flaky bark and graceful arching branches, which can grow higher than eight feet tall. It is usually as wide as it is tall. The plant blooms in late spring. Its light pink flowers, dark pink in the bud, are about one-inch long and bell-shaped ("tubular campanulate"); they grow in pairs, as with all Caprifoliaceae, and form showy, numerous sprays along ripened wood. Its leaves are opposite, simple, and ovate, from .5 to 3 inches long, entire or with a few sparse shallow teeth. Its fruit is a hairy, ovoid capsule approximately .25 inches long.[3]


The plant originated in Central China, where it was twice discovered, once by the Jesuit missionary Giuseppe Giraldi in Shensi and then in western Hubei province, by E.H. 'Chinese' Wilson[4] who was collecting for Veitch Nurseries, who introduced it into horticulture.[5] It was named for Richard Kolkwitz, a professor of botany in Berlin.[6] Wilson sent plant material to his sponsors Veitch Nurseries, Exeter, in 1901; the shrub flowered there for the first time in 1910. It received a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in 1923 for Nymans Gardens, Sussex.[7] The shrub became very popular in the eastern United States following World War I, almost a defining shrub in American gardens made between the World Wars.


In the garden, the shrub needs plenty of room to develop its long, arching sprays, reducing the temptation to club it back, which results in an unnatural "witches' broom". Occasionally older stems thicker than a broomstick should be removed at the base when the shrub is dormant, to encourage young, free-flowering growth.


  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315. 
  3. ^ "USDA PLANTS Profile for Kolkwitzia amabilis". PLANTS Database. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  4. ^ St Andrews Botanical Garden: Kolkwitzia amabilis
  5. ^ Alice M. Coats, Garden Shrubs and Their Histories (1964) 1992, s.v. "Kolkwitzia"
  6. ^ Albert, Render; L.H. Bailey (Ed.) (1917). The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. London: MacMillan & Co., Ltd. p. 1757. 
  7. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Kolkwitzia amabilis". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 20 May 2013.