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A deciduous shrub up to about 8 ft high, of loose, spreading habit; branchlets glossy, glabrous, brown, either armed with simple or three-parted spines 1 in. long, or unarmed. Leaves grey-green, broadly ovate or oval, rounded at the apex; the blade 1 to 11⁄2 in. long, tapering at the base to a long, slender, reddish stalk, 2⁄3 to 1 in. long; margin sometimes almost or quite entire, more often set with fine teeth. Inflorescences drooping, long-stalked, three of which often issue from one tuft of leaves; one being large, racemose, with as many as fifteen flowers, the other two smaller, umbellate, with about three flowers. Each flower is on a slender stalk, fragrant, orange-yellow, opening in May. Fruit oblong or egg-shaped, 1⁄3 in. long, black, covered with blue bloom.
Native of Turkestan; introduced to Kew in 1886 from the St Petersburg Botanic Garden through Albert Regel. It is distinct by reason of its long, slender leaf-stalks, and long, drooping, many-flowered racemes, often flanked on either side by a few-flowered umbel.
Closely related to this species is B. oblonga (Reg.) Schneid. (B. heteropoda var. oblonga Reg.). The inflorescences bear more numerous flowers and the fruits have a short style (in B. heteropoda the stigma is sessile).