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A tree 20 ft or more high, with glabrous young shoots; thorns about 1 in. long. Leaves obovate or diamond-shaped, always tapered and glandular at the base; pointed, sometimes three-lobed at the apex; doubly toothed; 1 to 21⁄2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 11⁄2 in. wide; glabrous on both sides; stalk 1⁄4 to 1 in. long, glandular. Flowers white, 3⁄4 in. diameter, produced in early June in corymbs of three to seven blossoms; flower-stalks glandular, glabrous (or at first somewhat downy); calyx glabrous, or downy only on the inner face, the lobes glandular; stamens ten to twenty; anthers purple. Fruit roundish, pear-shaped, greenish yellow, about 5⁄8 in. long.
Native almost certainly of eastern N. America, but not apparently known wild now in the form described by Aiton in 1789. A specimen from Bishop Good-enough’s herbarium, dated 1781, is preserved at Kew, and is no doubt authentic, as it is ascribed to Solander, Aiton’s coadjutor; this differs from the trees now cultivated at Kew by having about twenty stamens to each flower, and in being perfectly glabrous in flower and leaf. The species is of historical interest, and as being the type of a considerable group of thorns from the south-eastern United States; but in its few flowers and sparely borne, dull-coloured fruits it is one of the least ornamental.