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A deciduous shrub 10 to 15 ft high, of open, spreading habit, with very pithy, purplish red young shoots, whose bark is slightly downy at first, soon quite glabrous. Leaves ovate, occasionally two- or three-lobed, rounded or slightly heart-shaped at the base, long and taper-pointed, toothed; extremely variable in size, three-nerved at the base; slightly downy when young, soon afterwards glabrous; upper surface rather rough. On strong growths they may be 6 to 10 in. long, 3 to 5 in. wide; on weaker shoots as small as 2 in. long; stalk 1⁄3 to 3⁄4 in. long. Flowers of the male plant in clusters 1⁄2 in. long, on a slender, downy stalk about the same length; female flowers in a smaller, globose head, with long, slender, downy styles. Neither has any beauty. Fruits in a globose head, woolly.
Native of Japan and Korea. This species is distinguished from B. papyrifera by its glabrous young wood and leaves, by its shorter male inflorescence, and by the usually shorter leaf-stalks. It is not so striking or vigorous a shrub. It was once grown as “B. kaempferi”; the true species of that name is a dioecious, scrambling shrub found in the southern islands of Japan and in Formosa.