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A tree up to 15 or 20 ft high, with horizontal branches; young twigs and leaves quite glabrous; thorns 1 to 11⁄2 in. long. Leaves broadly ovate, broadly wedge-shaped to nearly truncate at the base, pointed at the apex, doubly and sharply toothed or triangular-lobed at the upper part; 1 to 21⁄2 in. long, two-thirds to fully as wide; reddish when they unfold, becoming dark green above and glaucous beneath; stalks slender, 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. long. Flowers 3⁄4 to 1 in. wide, borne in May in rather loose corymbs; flower-stalks and calyx quite smooth; stamens twenty; styles five. Fruit five-angled, 5⁄8 in. diameter, globose, at first apple-green covered with a purple bloom, finally dark red, shining, and much dotted.
Native of the southern United States, probably sometimes confused in gardens with C. chrysocarpa, from which it differs in the glaucous under-surface of the leaf, and the plum-coloured young fruits, also the thinner, longer leafstalks and flower-stalks.