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A small tree, armed with spines 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long; young shoots glabrous, becoming bright purplish brown. Leaves of the barren shoots triangular, broadly wedge-shaped or cut almost straight across at the base, three- to seven-lobed, 11⁄2 to 31⁄4 in. long and wide, the lowest pair of lobes large, spreading; leaves of the flowering shoots smaller, more ovate or diamond-shaped and tapered at the base, lobes sharply pointed and sparsely toothed; downy on both sides when quite young, soon becoming glabrous except in the vein-axils beneath; stalk 1⁄2 to 11⁄8 in. long; stipules cockscomb-shaped, up to 1 in. diameter. Flowers white, 5⁄8 in. diameter, produced about the middle of May in corymbs 2 to 3 in. across; sepals and flower-stalks glabrous; stamens twenty; styles three to five; fruit globose, shining black, 1⁄2 in. in diameter, with three to five stones.
A handsome thorn native of Russian Central Asia. In foliage it much resembles C. altaica and C. pinnatifida, but its black fruits distinguish it from these and all of the Sanguinea group, except C. chlorosaroa (q.v.). It is believed to be the product of hybridisation between C. altaica and the following species:
C. fischeri Schneid