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A small genus of deciduous trees found in N.E. Asia, with opposite, pinnate leaves which give off a rather aromatic odour when crushed, and whose leaf-stalks, swollen at the base, completely hide the bud. The inner bark is yellow. Male and female flowers appear on different trees, but both are inconspicuous; the fruits are roundish, about the size of large peas, juicy and aromatic, with a black, tough skin. The chief attraction of the phellodendrons is in their foliage and often picturesque habit. When seeds are not available, cuttings taken from the tree in July may be rooted in gentle heat; they should be made of short twigs with a ‘heel’ of older wood. Root-cuttings taken in December are also used. These trees are gross feeders, and like a deep rich soil.
The name is derived from the Greek phellos (cork) and dendron (tree) given in reference to the corky bark of P. amurense, the species first described by Ruprecht in 1853. The species have but little beauty of blossom.