Description from Flora of China
Cephalanthus pilulifer Lamarck, Encycl. 1: 679. 1785; Adina globiflora Salisbury; A. globiflora var. tonkinensis Pitard; A. pilulifera var. tonkinensis (Pitard) Merrill ex H. L. Li.
Shrubs or small trees, evergreen, 1-5(-10) m tall; branches angled to terete, puberulent to glabrescent, often lenticellate, with bark usually gray. Leaves decussate; petiole 2-6 mm, glabrous or puberulent; blade drying papery to stiffly papery, narrowly elliptic, elliptic-lanceolate, obovate-oblong, oblanceolate, or obovate-oblanceolate, 4-12 × 1.5-3 cm, adaxially glabrous, abaxially glabrous or sparsely puberulent on costa, base acute to cuneate or obtuse, apex acute to acuminate with tip usually ultimately blunt; secondary veins 6-12 pairs, usually with foveolate and/or pilosulous domatia; stipules persistent to caducous, in outline ovate, 3-8 mm, puberulent to glabrous, deeply bifid, lobes lanceolate to ovate, acute to acuminate, erect to spreading. Inflorescences puberulent to glabrous; peduncles 2-5 cm, with bracts ca. 2 mm; flowering heads borne separately on axillary or sometimes apically paired peduncles and/or infrequently in cymes of 3, 4-6 mm in diam. across calyces, 8-12 mm in diam. across corollas; bracteoles linear to linear-clavate, 1.3-1.8 mm. Calyx puberulent to glabrescent; ovary portion obconic, 0.5-1 mm, surrounded at base by a strigose ring; limb deeply lobed, lobes linear-oblong or spatulate, 1-1.8 mm, with apex thickened. Corolla white, narrowly funnelform, outside puberulent or hirtellous to glabrous; tube 2-3.5 mm; lobes ovate-oblong, 0.5-1 mm, obtuse. Stigma globose to obovoid, ca. 0.2 mm, exserted for 3-5 mm. Fruiting heads 7-11 mm in diam. Capsules obcuneate, 2-5 mm, puberulent to glabrescent; seeds ca. 2 mm. Fl. Jun-Sep, fr. Jul-Dec.
H. L. Li (J. Arnold Arbor. 25: 317. 1944) recognized Adina pilulifera var. tonkinensis for Chinese plants from Guangxi, Hainan, and Yunnan but did not there explain their separation from the typical variety; no subsequent authors, including H. H. Hsue and H. Wu (in FRPS 71(1): 274-275. 1999), have recognized infraspecific taxa within this widespread species.
Thickets or sparse forests at streamsides, at roadsides, or in valleys; 200-400 m. Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Yunnan, Zhejiang [Japan, Vietnam].