Leycesteria formosa var. brachysepala Airy Shaw; L. formosa var. glandulosissima Airy Shaw; L. formosa var. stenosepala Rehder; L. limprichtii H. Winkler; L. sinensis Hemsley.
Shrubs, 1-5 m tall. Branches hollow, branchlets, petioles, peduncles, bracts, and sepals adpressed pubescent and sometimes glandular hairy. Petiole 5-15 mm; leaf blade ovate to lanceolate, 4-13 × 2-6 cm, both surfaces glabrescent to sparsely adpressed pubescent, base cuneate to subcordate, margin entire to dentate, occasionally irregularly sinuate, apex acuminate to caudate. Inflorescence terminal or axillary; peduncle 6-30 mm. Whorls 1-10, each whorl composed of 2 opposite sessile, 3-flowered cymes subtended by green, purplish, or purple-red leaflike involucral bracts and bracts; involucral pair of bracts up to 2.5 cm, 4 outer bracts narrower and shorter, 8 inner bracts very small. Ovary oblong, 3-4 mm, densely glandular hairy. Calyx shortly fused at base, sometimes to half way; lobes lanceolate to linear, sometimes deltoid, 1-9 mm. Corolla white to pink, sometimes purple-red, funnelform, 1.2-1.8 cm, outside pubescent; lobes orbicular-ovate, ca. 5 mm. Stamens subequaling corolla. Ovary 5-locular; style slightly exceeding corolla, glabrous. Berry red, turning black-purple, ovoid or subglobose, with persistent calyx, 5-7 mm in diam.; seeds minute, numerous, brownish, broadly ellipsoid to oblong, slightly compressed, ca. 1 mm. Fl. (May-)Jun-Sep(-Oct), fr. (Aug-)Sep-Oct. 2n = 18.
Forests, forest margins, scrub; 1100-3500 m. W Guizhou, W Sichuan, Xizang, Yunnan [Bhutan, India, Kashmir, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan; widely cultivated and naturalized in Australia, Europe, North America, and Pacific islands (New Zealand)].
The name Leycesteria sinensis was published by Hemsley in Hooker’s Icon. Pl. (27: t. 2633. 1900). It is based on a single specimen collected by Henry (9692c) in Yunnan (mountains north of Mengtze, 2130 m) and does not appear to have been collected since then. This specimen has inflorescences with a single whorl, outer bracts broadly ovate, and calyx fused up to the middle with deltoid lobes; it falls within the variation of L. formosa.