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A deciduous shrub usually up to 10 ft high, occasionally a small tree 12 to 30 ft high; bark greyish, young shoots silky-hairy. Leaves ovate, pointed, rounded at the base, jaggedly toothed; 1 to 2 in. long, half to two-thirds as much wide; veins in seven to ten pairs; upper surface dull dark green, sprinkled with silky hairs; silky-hairy beneath, mostly on the veins; stalk 1⁄6 to 1⁄4 in. long, silky. Female catkins roundish oval, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, the scales of which are lanceolate in main outline but with three forward-pointing, narrow, linear lobes, the side ones much the shorter, all edged with minute hairs.
Native of N. China, Korea, and Japan; introduced to Kew from the Arnold Arboretum in 1920. It is shrubby in growth, about 11 ft high at Kew after thirty-five years, and it is as a shrub that it was often noted in a wild state by Wilson, Purdom, and other collectors. But a plant raised from W. 10707 has obtained 20 × 11⁄2 ft in the Edinburgh Botanic Garden (1968). In addition to the neat, densely shrubby form, it is distinct on account of the very slender ciliate lobes of the scales of the seed-bearing catkins.
The example at Kew mentioned still grows in the Birch Collection, but the Edinburgh specimen from Wilson’s seeds is dead. Young natural-source plants are now at Kew and in other collections.