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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles
'Aphananthe aspera' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
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A deciduous tree 60 to 70 ft high, allied, and similar in appearance to the nettle trees (Celtis); young shoots at first covered with flattened hairs, which mostly fall away before the leaves do. Leaves alternate, ovate, long- and taper-pointed; the base wedge-shaped, rounded, or (on very vigorous shoots) heart-shaped, often oblique; 11⁄2 to 4 in. long, 1⁄3 to 2 in. wide; prominently parallel-veined, distinctly three-nerved at the base. When young both surfaces are densely covered with minute, flattened hairs which fall away from the upper surface, leaving it bright green and slightly rough, persisting more or less on the midrib and veins beneath; stalk 1⁄6 to 1⁄3 in. long. Flowers unisexual, very small, greenish; the males numerous, crowded in slender, stalked, cymose clusters at the base of the young side twigs; females solitary at the end. Fruit a roundish oval drupe, 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. long, black-purple.
Native of Japan, Korea, and China; introduced to Kew from Japan in 1895. In their early years the trees made long succulent growths, frequently cut back in winter, but one of the original introduction has become established and is now 28 ft high. The species has little or no flower beauty and little claim to a place in any but botanic gardens.