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A deciduous shrub up to 15 and 20 ft high, of rather erect, sometimes almost fastigiate habit; by pruning away the lower branches and training up a leading shoot, it may be made to take the form of a small tree; bark on young branchlets slightly winged. Leaves 11⁄2 to 3 in. long, equally pinnate, consisting usually of four to six pairs of leaflets (more on young or exceptionally vigorous shoots); leaflets oval or obovate, 1⁄3 to 5⁄8 in. long, becoming nearly or quite glabrous; the main-stalk ending in a bristle-like spine. Stipules linear, spine-tipped, developing ultimately into a pair of stiff spines at each joint, 1⁄4 in. long. Flowers yellow, produced singly on thin, downy stalks from 1⁄2 to 11⁄2 in. long, several coming from each of the enlarged scaly buds on the previous year’s wood. Each flower is 5⁄8 to 7⁄8 in. long; calyx cup-shaped or tubular, five-toothed, with hairy margins; standard petal not expanded but curled backwards at the sides. Pod 11⁄2 to 2 in. long on a slender stalk about the same length, smooth, cylindric, and carrying three or five oblong seeds, the calyx adhering at the base.
Native of Siberia and Mongolia; introduced in 1752. This is the commonest of the caraganas in gardens, and is a vigorous, free-growing shrub. Its long, sparsely branched shoots give it a distinct appearance, and although not one of the showiest of the broom family it is very pretty in early May, when the yellow flowers are associated with the tender green, almost fully formed leaves. It produces good seed in abundance. The species shows several different forms, especially in habit, of which the following are the most distinct.
† cv. ‘Walker’. – Branches steeply pendulous as in ‘Pendula’, foliage as in ‘Lorbergii’ but somewhat finer. This is the result of a cross between these two cultivars, raised at the Morden Research Station, Manitoba, Canada, and selected by Professor J. Walker (Dendroflora No. 15/16, pp. 61-2 (1979)). It has been introduced to Britain.
C. microphylla var. crasse-aculeata Bois
C. arborescens var. crasse-aculeata (Bois) R. J. Moore
Robinia altagana var. fruticosa Pall.
C. redowskii DC
C. cuneifolia Dipp.
C. arborescens var. cunetfolia (Dipp.) Schneid