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A round-headed tree to about 25 ft high, or a large shrub, with dark purple thorns 11⁄2 to 2 in. long. Leaves triangular to ovate, truncate, rounded to slightly heart-shaped at the base, 2 to 21⁄2 in. long and slightly less wide, with four to five pairs of pointed lobes, margins set with glandular teeth; they are rather thin, yellowish green, and almost glabrous even when young. Flowers 3⁄4 in. wide, four to seven together in compact clusters; sepals with glandular teeth; stamens twenty, with red anthers. Fruit roundish, flattened at both ends, 3⁄5 in. across, juicy and bright red, with five nutlets.
A native of the Mississippi basin; introduced in 1883. According to Sargent, wild trees colour orange and scarlet in the autumn.
C. coccinioides var. dilatata (Sarg.) Eggl