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A deciduous tree, usually about 30 ft high in the wild (very rarely as much as 80 ft, with a trunk 12 ft in girth). Leaves pinnate, 12 to 18 in. long, composed of five to nine leaflets, which are ovate, heart-shaped at the base, pointed, toothed, 3 to 5 in. long, greyish beneath. Flowers honey-scented, male or bisexual, in axillary panicles, those bearing the male flowers composed of many slender spikes, the fertile panicles shorter and more stoutly branched, with larger flowers. Fruits egg-shaped, black, about 3⁄8 in. long.
Native of Central China, where it occurs at comparatively low elevations; introduced by Wilson in 1908, when collecting for the Arnold Arboretum. Wilson introductions from the 1907-8 expedition are uncommon in this country, and this species, which is also tender, has never spread into gardens, or even collections.