Although it is better known by its correct botanical name of enkianthus, redvein is a good name as it relates directly to a feature of the plant, namely, the tiny red veins that appear on the nodding flowers. Part of the rhododendron/heather family, the enkianthus flowers are small and bell-shaped, carried in masses on slender, dangling flower stems. Each flower has its own flower stem and these are carried in a cluster of flowers. Sometimes the flower stems are of different length, which has the flowers appear to cascade down the plant, but sometimes they are the same length which gives a fringed flower effect.

The branches are held in almost-horizontal fashion, in attractive tiers. The main species grown here is Enkianthus campanulatus, native to Japan, the second part of the name referring to the bell-shaped flowers. This plant can make a large shrub, to three metres tall and wide, which is why it suits a country garden very well. At a glance, when in leaf or leafless, it looks very like a deciduous azalea in shape and general structure.