The species name refers to the grainy, gritty texture of the leaves. This wonderful tree grows quickly as much as 40 feet in its native habitat but is usually about half that height in cultivation. Blooms 2-3 times a year, spring to fall. Flowering panicles at branch tips can completely cover the tree with rich, velevet-like blossoms. The stems are four-angled, and the new growth is clothed in a reddish bronze felt. The wonderful 8" long leaves are narrowly elliptic to lanceolate in shape and a dark green in color, pubescent beneath but usually smooth and almost glossy above. The flowers are in erect terminal panicles and each five-petaled 2" wide blossom is a deep rose to violet in color. The varied-shaped stamens of this flower are visited by pollen-collecting bees.